On Friday morning (NZT) 22 Fifa executives will vote in a secret ballot to decide the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups.
The vote will take place in Zurich, Switzerland as up to 1000 journalists and almost 70 television stations will cover the announcement at 4am NZT.
Voting will be an exhaustive ballot system, meaning in each round if there is not a majority winner with more than 12 votes then the country with the fewest number of votes will drop out of contention.
There could be a maximum of three rounds to decide the 2018 host and four rounds to decide the 2022 host.
Today the five nations looking to host the 2022 World Cup and the four bids for the 2018 World Cup took to the stage and presented their cases to the Fifa executives.
The average age of those 22 executives is 64 and hail from a wide range of nations from Guatemala to Cyprus. In the case of a tie, FIFA President Sepp Blatter casts the deciding vote.
Big names will be in attendance with Bill Clinton, David Cameron, Elle Macpherson, Morgan Freeman and Prince William set to show up and put support behind their respective nations.
2018 WORLD CUP BIDS
Considered by some as the home of football, England is bidding to host the World Cup for the first time in 52 years. Of the 17 stadiums in England's 1752 page bid book, 13 are already built with iconic Wembley Stadium proposed to host the opening game and final. 12 cities have been named as host options with the likes of Old Trafford, Anfield and Emirates Stadium set to host games if England wins the ballot.
England certainly has tradition on their side and by the time 2018 rolls around the country will have the experience of hosting big events with the 2012 Olympics being staged in London, followed by the Rugby World Cup three years later. A history of crowd problems could be an issue with voters not helped by the violence at this morning's Carling Cup clash between Aston Villa and Birmingham.
Bid motto: England United, The World Invited
Last hosted the World Cup in 1966.
While England's bid is based on tradition and historic venues, Russia has taken the first class approach with plans to build nine brand new stadiums for the event.
However the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which staged the 1980 Olympics and the 2008 Champions League final, first built in 1956 would host the final.
The Russian bid has also worked off a geographical advantage where they appeal to both European and Asian voters. Despite worries over transport issues Russia is the odds-on favourite to win the 2018 bid.
If Russia wins the bid, up to $US10 billion would be spent on hosting the tournament.
Bid motto: Ready To Inspire
Never hosted a World Cup.
Belgium and Netherlands
The Belgium/Netherlands joint bid is clearly the underdog. The two countries co-hosted a successful 2000 European Championships and are out to prove that the World Cup is not just an event big countries can host.
Size could work in their favour as the small distances to travel between games would be appealing especially on the back of the next World Cup in Brazil where travel is expected to be a major issue. But current transport problems between Netherlands and Belgium that see constant traffic jams would need to be attended to.
They may also be trying to work off the sympathy vote as Netherlands is the highest ranked nation, including three-times World Cup final losers, that has never hosted a World Cup.
Unlike the Russian bid, you can guarantee the Dutch and Belgian fans would get right behind the event and provide a colourful tournament as passionate hosts.
Bid motto: Together For Great Goals
Both have never hosted a World Cup.
Portugal and Spain
Like Netherlands and Belgium the Iberian nations are hoping to springboard into World Cup hosting duties on the back of Portugal's hosting of the 2004 European championships. What could hurt both bids is that Fifa is against nations co-hosting an event.
Despite that South America have reportedly put their support behind the bid which counts to three of the 22 votes. Bid chief executive Miguel Angel Lopez claimed last month that they have eight votes sewn up which should be enough to get through the first round at least. The Portugal/Spain bid hasn't had much fanfare, instead shifting their focus to quietly convincing the voters behind the scenes. So put them down as a potential dark horse.
Like England, Spain brings the appeal of traditional grounds, Barcelona's Camp Nou and the Bernabeu in Madrid to name a few and two of the strongest football nations in the world. But would Fifa rather see state of the art over traditional?
Bid motto: We Play As A Team, United By Enthusiasm
Spain hosted 1982 World Cup
Our pick: Heart says England, money says Russia. Money talks.
2022 WORLD CUP BID
In their presentation to Fifa Australia assured they could have a profitable tournament in the only continent never to host soccer's biggest event.
The timing of the matches wouldn't help in their favour compared to rival bids with kickoff times equalling to breakfast viewings for European fans. Only three new stadiums would need to be built while the rest would be revamps of current grounds.
Australia have a strong sporting culture and the tournament will be 100% back by the public, as shown at the 2000 Sydney Olympics which was a huge success. Australia's message in this morning's presentation was that the event would "turbo-charge" the growth of football in Asia and the Pacific region. Not a great sell to the 22 voters who often neglect Oceania.
The Australia bid doesn't have the wow factor of other nations which places them as an outsider to win the hosting rights.
Bid motto: Come Play!
Never hosted the World Cup
As expected from a Japanese bid, technology is at the forefront. In this morning's presentation they promised 3D holographic projections of matches to 400 stadiums around the world. So say you'd head along to Eden Park, put on same 3D glasses and watch the game being played in front of you. Which could of course benefit nations all around the world.
Even though the event doesn't take place for another 12 years, Japan is well set up when in comes to infrastructure and stadiums after co-hosting the event in 2002. Like England they will be well prepared when they host the Rugby World Cup three years earlier.
The technological promises give Japan a unique advantage but will 22 'old men' see the benefits it brings?
Bid motto: Our dream: A world united through football
Co-hosted 2002 World Cup
Qatar has never played in the World Cup but 2022 could be their biggest chance as the Middle Eastern country heads into tomorrow's vote as favourite. Money seems like no object for the Qatar bid with an impressive plan for state of the art stadiums.
The bid is also forward thinking such as the plan to have half of each stadium lifted off after the event and shipped to poorer nations, gifting a stadium. Main disadvantage could be the heat with the tournament using taking place in the summer off season. The stadiums will be cooled environments but doesn't help fans and players outside the grounds.
The small size of Qatar appeals compared to the likes of Australia and the US with shorter travel times for teams and fans.
Bid motto: Expect Amazing
Never hosted the World Cup
The timing isn't great as South Korea is possibly on the verge of a conflict with their neighbours north of the border. However in today's presentation the South Korean didn't shy away from the conflict saying that football has the power to bring people closer and would be an agent of political change.
Also working against their bid is the fact they held a World Cup just eight years ago, co-hosted with Japan, but by the time 2022 rolls around that would be two decades ago.
10 of the 13 cities in South Korea's bid hosted matches in 2002 and were set up with state of the art transport systems at the time so little change is needed there. With infrastructure already set up the low cost option may appeal to Fifa voters.
Bid motto: Passion That Unites
Co-hosted 2002 World Cup
The Americans have gone with a green bid. Green in the terms of money not the environment. In this morning's presentation President Barack Obama promised record profits for Fifa and sold-out crowds. How much profit exactly? They expect $5 million generated from tickets sold and a total profit over more than $1 billion. Money often talks, and more so in the Fifa environment.
Sold-out crowds sounds good but whether or not all of the country will get fully behind the event is the question. Soccer has always struggled against baseball, American football and basketball and some may think the US are getting a second bite at the cherry after hosting the 1994 World Cup.
In America size is everything and this is proven by their 18 stadiums averaging a capacity of more the 76,000.
Bid motto: The Game Is In US
Hosted 1994 World Cup
Our pick: Qatar is a sound bid but the heat provides too much of a risk. USA all the way.
- Herald online