Tagline: The World Invited.
What the Tagline Should Be: The World Invited...but seriously you guys, show up this time.
You Tube Plea:
Pros: Well, start with the fact that the game has its origins in England. England is the most dominant futbol force on the planet (even if it's team plays like a pack of three-toed sloths in World Cup outrounds). Its league is the most popular. Its players are (at least among) the most well known. Its citizens play and watch more than anyone else on the planet (and drink more Guiness while doing it!). It last hosted in 1966 and is right around the due date for their 50 year return cup (Italy, France and Brazil all waited that long). They've played the game and bid frequently throughout the 90s and 00's, now they want it, the deserve it, by god we all better come to their party!
Cons: When I first heard that England was bidding for 2018 it was widely assumed that the bidding was a mere formality. They wanted it, they'd waited for it, by god they deserved it. If that sounds a little smug to you...that's because it is; and surprisingly for some people smugness is a turn off (did you read that VH1? Sound romantic advice. Can I have a reality tv show now?). And though some are still concerned about the possibility of hooligans and racist fan chants (like you might be if you're considering bringing 31 teams from disparate countries to an insulated, overcrowded, occasionally xenophobic island), the biggest detraction from the English bid is the overzealous British press. In the last months, English newspapers have published harsh expose's accusing several FIFA board members of intending to sell votes for the cup in exchange for youth programs in their countries. While journalistic integrity can be cool, FIFA doesn't exactly like being publicly attacked by people who want them to do favors. (I really do almost expect Sepp Blatter to shout: "Sticks and Stones may break my bones...but your words also hurt me!!!")
Summary: It really boils down to a tough choice for FIFA: give the World Cup to England and rake in obscene gobs of money while exposing yourself to extended criticism in the British press, or don't give England the world cup, make large sums of money elsewhere while exposing yourself to a brief critique and slander in the British press.
Chances: No matter how pessimistic the British have become, never underestimate FIFA's desire for the cash. They're still the front-runners.
Well, that covers the bids. We'll be back Thursday morning with a live blog coverage of the host unveilings 8 AM Mountain...the only time zone that matters.