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Two can play that game...


Two countries that are united geographically, by customs, interests and traditions have joined forces in order to become the hosts for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Spain and Portugal are working together on the joint proposal that constitutes the Iberian Bid for the World Cup.

Portuguese and Spanish present a bid that is essentially about "restoring the joy" of big football tournaments. The leaders of this project will strive to highlight the positivity, joy and the Iberian way of celebrating as the main difference with the other candidates to host the World Cup. Both nations are of the opinion that "hard work, effort, emotion, brotherhood and friendship" are the main strengths behind their World Cup bid and that therefore the right to host the tournament should go to the South-European peninsula.

Few countries are as passionate about football as Spain and Portugal. Spain had the opportunity to prove this during the 1982 World Cup, while Portugal did so at Euro 2004.

If football is considered to be a universally celebrated activity, with the World Cup being the absolute highlight, there are few places better suited to host a tournament like this. In fact, the Iberian bid started the bidding process as an early favourite to host the World Cup.




Why they can win

Besides their ethereal motives, and the Iberian happiness and passion of football in the two countries, Spain and Portugal offer more than reliable motives to be able to run an efficient World Cup.

The two Iberian nations present modern installations, and can guarantee better settings for the matches of the tournament. In Portugal, the great investment carried out by the Portuguese government to be awarded Euro 2004 assures that they have modern and efficient stadiums.

In Spain, the standards required from Liga BBVA guarantees the quality of the installations, and though some of the stadiums were not constructed recently, they are in superb condition. The 18 cities that are intended to host World Cuo encounters practically have their installations finalised.

The tourist character of both countries also creates perfect conditions for hotels and infrastructure, and as the World Cup would essentially be Europe's tournament, the facilities would attract inhabitants from all countries in the continent.

Spain and Portugal's bid makes sense from sporting and logistical reasons. A World Cup in Spain and Portugal would not suffer complaints in the early stages of their selection, and combined the two will always be candidates for victory.

Portugal has already won the European championships, and Spain is currently dominating world football, after becoming European and World champions. With these two teams, a spectacle is assured.

Why They Can't Win

The first major barrier to be overcome is the unprecedented Iberian Bid: never before have they organised a World Cup together, and the only similar experiment on a large scale in football will take place only in 2012: EURO Ukraine and Poland. In this regard, the Evaluation Committee of Fifa, which looked at the Iberian Bid last summer, warned not only about the "great challenge" that will be faced by Spain and Portugal, but on the "necessity" to fully assemble their wills to work as one in all respects, especially in the organisation.

What specific weaknesses are there in the Iberian bid, if any? In compliance with Fifa's standards, which touches on different areas, the demands are on issues such as the legal matters and everything related to security (critical point known as 'safety and security'). It's not enough to say that "Portugal has organised a perfect EURO 2004 without any serious incidents of violence recorded." What needs to be ensured is that these same parameters can also be met at the headquarters of Spain, and the Justice departments of both countries and their security forces always respond the same way in cases where necessary.

Like the English bid, the Iberian Candidacy has not been without controversy and the controversy, indeed, was indicted by the British media (BBC) who accused their members in the Fifa Executive Committee of attempting to exchange bids with Qatar. According to the indictment, the Qataris would support the Iberians to organise the 2018 World Cup and they would return the favour by voting for Qatar for 2022. FIFA confirmed it was investigating "two nominations for 2018 and 2022" that are in agreement of exchanging votes, but did not specify which countries. So at present, the Iberian Bid remains 'safe', at least publicly.



The Iberian bid could not have two better ambassadors: Raul and Luis Figo. The two are the visible leaders of the bid, two players who are not only living legends in their respective countries, but are part of the small number of players who have gone down in history as the world's best during their time.

Both stars played for Real Madrid and the passion they showed on the field is only comparable to the following showed by the fans, and the influence of both off the field.

Sepp says

“Both countries have already welcomed football competitions of the highest level, which proves its organisational capacity”
- May 2010

How Spain could line-up in 2018

 De Gea;

César Azpilicueta, Gerard Piqué, Álvaro Domínguez, José Ángel Valdés;

Sergio Canales, Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcántara, Isco

Pedro Rodríguez, Bojan Krkic

How Portugal could line-up in 2018...

Rui Patricio;

Fabio Faria, Carrico, Miguel Vitor, Ricardo Ferreira;

André Santos, André Castos, Concentrao, Joao Aurelio

Bebé, Ukra

Expert View (Juan Lirman, Spain)

Any football fan in the world is salivating at the thought of a Spain-Portugal World Cup, because these two countries know how to do it. It was proven with Spain hosting the 1982 World Cup and Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, and it was further endorsed by Portugal organising an immaculate EURO 2004 full of passion. Adding past experiences and joint efforts, of course, you can repeat and even improve on things.

Assessment reports of Fifa recognised two crucial aspects of the Iberian Bid: the "shared history" of both countries and their "football culture ". In practical terms this means having a pleasant and secure atmosphere - fundamental aspects in a global event of this nature - promote an environment of brotherhood among all cultures and in sports, which is well known in the host countries and it is often spoen about.

What about the idols of football in Spain and Portugal? Legends from Telmo Zarra, Luis Suárez and Eusebio, to Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, David Villa or David Silva who made La Furia Roja champions of Europe and the world; and Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho and Fabio Coentrao, all of whom keep Portugal among the best sides in the world.

As for organisational matters, the Ibero-Bid surpasses its rivals in terms of stadium infrastructure, which consequently lowers investment costs, ensures a greater amount of tickets on sale. In terms of lodging and hotels, the facilities Spain and Portugal offer are impressive. As for the tourist, there are alternatives such as the incomparable temptation of beautiful beaches. Football fans will enjoy a wonderful summer. How can you say NO to such a proposal?