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Russia selected to host 2018 World Cup (Update 3)

© RIA Novosti . Alexandr Vilf / Go to the photo bankRussia selected to host 2018 World Cup
Russia selected to host 2018 World Cup  - Sputnik International
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Russia will host the 2018 World Cup, the FIFA Executive Committee in Switzerland's Zurich announced on Thursday.

Russia will host the 2018 World Cup, the FIFA Executive Committee in Switzerland's Zurich announced on Thursday.

Russia won the bid for the first time in history after a tight race against England, Portugal and Spain (jointly), and Belgium and the Netherlands (jointly).

In two rounds of voting, Russia secured 22 votes. Spain and Portugal came in second place with 14 votes, followed by the Netherlands and Belgium and then England.

FIFA also chose Qatar to host the 2022 championships, selecting the oil-rich Arab country over bids from Australia, South Korea, the United States and Japan.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated all Russians and the organizers of the bid for the victory.

"Dear friends, I heartily congratulate everyone in this brilliant victory.... I congratulate the huge army of Russian fans. I congratulate all those who prepared and supported the bid," Medvedev said.

"We will of course have experience in holding such events after the 2014 Olympics, but this is a huge and a serious event," he added. "Our football players must start training hard too because we have not yet been able to cannot yet impress with our World Cup results."

On Wednesday Russian Prime Minister Putin announced that he would not join the Russian delegation for the announcement ceremony as he did not want to put pressure on the FIFA executives making the decision.

But as soon as he heard the news, the premier jetted off to Zurich to join the celebrations.

"This [FIFA] decision certainly complies with the FIFA philosophy on the development of international football, particularly in areas where this development is most needed...I want to assure the FIFA executives that we will do everything to hold the 2018 World Cup at the highest level possible," Putin said.

The Russian Prime Minister, who earlier secured victory for Russia's Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics bid, will hold a news conference in Zurich at 11 pm Moscow time (20:00 GMT).

FIFA President Joseph Blatter congratulated the countries selected to host the 2018 and 2022 Cups.

"I have to say thanks to the Executive Committee of FIFA because for 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in eastern Europe or the Middle East. So, I'm a happy president when we speak of the development of football," Blatter said.

Russia's main selling points have been an appeal to FIFA's sense of legacy and mission to open new borders. The team behind the Russian application has also stressed the massive state support for the bid.

ZURICH, December 2 (RIA Novosti) 

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