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Beckham, Rooney back England 2018 bid

WEMBLEY, May 19 – David Beckham teamed up with Prime Minister Gordon Brown to launch England's bid for the 2018 World Cup on Monday, saying that winning the right to host would be as satisfying as anything he's accomplished on the field.BECKHAM_WITH_ROONEY"It would be up there with winning (trophies) and the success I’ve had in my career because to be part of a successful bid, like I was with the Olympics, would be a huge honor," the former England captain said.

England is competing against the United States, Australia, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Japan, as well as possible joint bids by Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium. FIFA’s executive committee will make the decision in December 2010.

"I’ve played with some of the biggest and best (players) in the world and all they talk about is the passion and atmosphere that is shown at England games and games against teams from England," Beckham said.

Beckham won the Champions League with Manchester United and the Spanish league title with Real Madrid. He is now on loan at AC Milan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham, who was part of London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, said England would probably be able to stage the World Cup right now.

"We, as a country, are always ready for big competitions. If someone was to say next week we’ll stage a tournament in England, I don’t think there are many other countries who would be ready to facilitate that," he said.

Brown said a successful bid would contribute to an unprecedented sporting decade in Britain. In addition to the London Olympics, Glasgow will stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games and England has also bid to stage the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

"If we can secure the football World Cup in England in 2018, it will be the greatest sporting decade our country has ever seen," Brown said.

England has not staged the World Cup since it won the trophy in 1966. The country bid for the 2006 World Cup but flopped badly, gaining only five votes as Germany was awarded the championship.

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"I believe it is right for England to host the World Cup," Brown said. "Building on the success of Euro ’96, we have the stadiums, the infrastructure to host the greatest football tournament in the world."

Prince William sent a message of support by video, saying England would stage a World Cup which would be remembered forever.

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