Russia to host 2018 FIFA World Cup
© AFP

Russia have won the race to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. After evaluating the competing bids in Zurich on Thursday 2 December 2010, the 22 members of the FIFA Executive Committee chose Russia as host nation for the tournament in eight years’ time.

The global showdown will thus return to Europe for the first time since the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.

"One billion people are into the game," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter upon announcing Russia as the Host Nation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. "It's a game with values, educational values. You learn to win and also to lose, it's not easy. I congratulate Russia. Thanks to those who have not won the contest."

You have trusted us with the World Cup, we will not disappoint you. Let's make history together.
Igor Shuvalov, Russian Deputy Prime Minister

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov added: "You have trusted us with the World Cup, we will not disappoint you. Let's make history together."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that he would go to Zurich to thank FIFA for awarding his country the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Putin called the decision "a sign of trust".

"I would like to thank the members of the FIFA executive committee for their decision, that they trusted us with staging the football World Cup," Putin said in televised remarks.

"I would like to assure the FIFA leadership that we will do everything possible to ensure that the 2018 World Cup is staged at a deserving level."

England, Netherlands and Belgium, Spain and Portugal, and Russia all submitted bids for the right to stage the 2018 finals. Both England and Spain are previous FIFA World Cup hosts, with the 1966 tournament on English soil ending in the Three Lions' only world crown to date. The Iberians staged the 1982 edition of the world’s greatest tournament, where the glittering Trophy was won by Italy.

The final presentations and the announcement of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups was one of the biggest media events ever seen in Switzerland. Some 70 TV stations reported live from the official announcement at Zurich Exhibition Centre, where around 1,000 reporters from all over the world also covered the event.