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FIFA: 2014 World Cup Bids by Brazil, Colombia
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Brazil and Colombia have made preliminary bids to host the World Cup in 2014, FIFA said on Tuesday.

The two countries submitted "expression of interest" forms to world football's governing body before the December 18 deadline, FIFA said in a statement.

Only South American countries were invited to bid for the 2014 World Cup and the expression of interest is the first stage of the bidding to host world football's flagship event.

The Brazilian football federation (CFB) submitted its offer on December 13, while the Colombian federation presented its document at the last moment on Monday.

FIFA said it the two federations would be informed of the next steps that they have to take.

The governing body had been ready to hold an accelerated process if only one candidate was ready to host the finals in 2014, amidst strong pressure from Brazil at the time.

The five-times World Cup winners have hosted the event once before in 1950, when its team lost 2-1 to Uruguay in the final.

Four previous World Cups have been held in South America: Uruguay 1930, Brazil 1950, Chile 1962 and Argentina 1978.

However, the Brazilian bid has been criticized inside the country. Internacional coach Abel Braga said shortly before his club won FIFA's Club World Cup final in Tokyo that Brazil was not ready for the tournament.

"I don't think our environment is ready to have the World Cup in Brazil," the Brazilian coach said. "In terms of physical infrastructure like hotels and transport, safety, tourism and sight-seeing, our country is not ready."

Earlier this month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter told journalists that high standards had been set in recent World Cups.

He warned the governing body would be ready to look "further north" if no decent candidates emerged from the South American confederation.

FIFA recently voiced concern about the lack of construction work at key stadiums in South Africa less than four years before the 2010 World Cup finals are due to take place there.

This year's World Cup was held in Germany with Italy winning the title.

(China Daily December 21, 2006)

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