Soccer: Beckham shattered as England bid fails

England soccer icon David Beckham expressed his disappointment this morning after his country's bid for the 2018 World Cup ended in a crushing defeat.

England missed out on the 2018 tournament as FIFA members voted to take the tournament to Russia for the first time, a devastating snub to the English who had lobbied relentlessly for the tournament.

Adding insult to injury, England was eliminated in the first round of voting, winning fewer votes than rank outsiders Belgium-Holland.
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"I think the bid team have done everything possible, we couldn't have got a better bid," Beckham told BBC radio.

"We're disappointed but we wish Qatar (chosen to host the 2022 World Cup) and Russia the very best, they're two great countries and I'm sure they'll make FIFA very proud.

"It's obviously hard to not come away with the World Cup in 2018 but a lot of congratulations have to go to the team, a lot of hard work has been done.

"It would be great to bring the World Cup to our country because we've not had it for so many years but it's a process I've enjoyed."

Former England captain Alan Shearer, also in Zurich to network, said the defeat was "hard to swallow."

"The way the presentation went this morning, the guys that got up and spoke were absolutely magnificent. We couldn't have done any more," Shearer told the BBC.

"If you try your best and it hasn't been, at least you can sleep at night. I was hoping that I might see a World Cup in my lifetime in England.

"It's unfortunate, it's sad, it hurts but you have to congratulate the winners.

"It does make you wonder if we haven't won it this time whenever will we get it."

London Mayor Johnson meanwhile said it was possible that British media reports exposing corruption within FIFA ranks had hurt the English bid.

"Clearly, with all the hoo-ha, the 2018 bid team felt that it had damaged our chances," said Johnson.

"My information is ... that we did not progress beyond the first round," Johnson said.

"Clearly it is bitterly disappointing for England. I really thought we would organise an absolutely fantastic World Cup."

- AFP

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