With Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pulling out of helping Russia's 2018 World Cup bid, the frantic last day of politicking was left to others to work their charm on the 22 voters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Putin’s withdrawal and allegations that the bidding process had turned into an “unfair competition” following scandals targeting FIFA dented Russia’s stature as a favorite to host the event.
England continued to lead the sporting diplomacy, with Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham seeking to sway FIFA’s executive committee for its 2018 bid.
The Spain-Portugal bid and the Belgium-Netherlands bid also worked up to the deadline.
Ahead of today’s 2018 presentation and vote, the five 2022 candidates – the United States, Qatar, Australia, Japan and South Korea – made their final pitches to the executive committee Wednesday.
Bid winners will be broadcast live to 70 countries. Fox Soccer Channel and Univision will televise the decision beginning at 6:30 a.m. PST today.