Joint Iberian World Cup bid earns FIFA praise

LISBON - FIFA ended a four-day visit to inspect Spain and Portugal's 2018 or 2022 World Cup bid by praising the countries' capacity to co-ordinate effectively in hosting a joint event.

"We are certain the coordination required at state level is absolutely assured if the World Cup comes to the Iberian Peninsula," FIFA's inspection team leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls told a news conference on Thursday.

The delegates started their tour in Madrid, visiting infrastructure facilities and Real Madrid's training complex where they met coach Jose Mourinho, and the Bernabeu stadium, the proposed final venue.

They travelled by high-speed train to Barcelona to visit the Nou Camp stadium, before moving on to Portugal where they met government officials and went to Porto's Dragao Stadium and Benfica's Luz Stadium in Lisbon.

"(All these) stadiums form, without a doubt, the ideal setting for millions of football fans," Mayne-Nicholls added.

The vote for who will host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments will be on December 2 in Zurich.

Spain, who hosted the World Cup in 1982, and Portugal, who staged the European Championship six years ago, are competing against England, Russia, the United States, and Belgium/Netherlands.

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