Nick Clegg talks up England 2018 bid

England 2018 launched the opening day of their FIFA inspection yesterday with a Downing Street reception where the deputy Prime Minister called the World Cup bid "unbeatable".

The six-man FIFA team were greeted by Nick Clegg at No 10 - Prime Minister David Cameron is on holiday in Cornwall - before travelling by tube to Wembley Stadium to inspect the venue and meet England head coach Fabio Capello.

Clegg told the delegation, which is led by Chile Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls: "I believe this is an exceptionally strong, unbeatable bid. We in this Government believe in it, we hope that you will believe in it."

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However, Fifa President Sepp Blatter has issued what appears to be veiled warning that England should not be over-confident about their bid, citing the strength of rivals Russia, viewed as England's biggest rivals to win the vote by FIFA's executive committee in December.

Speaking in Singapore, Blatter said: "The easiest way to organise the World Cup is to go to England. Everything is there - fans, stadiums, infrastructure."

Of the Russian bid he said: "You cannot deny Russia if they bid for something. They are more than a country. They are a big continent, a big power."

Spain are also bidding jointly for 2018 with Portugal. Holland and Belgium are in the contest too, also bidding jointly.