England suffer 2018 World Cup heartbreak

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England's roller-coaster campaign to host the 2018 World Cup ended in bitter and controversial defeat in Zurich.

FIFA's executive committee voted to give the tournament to Russia ahead of England, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium.

England looked to have suffered from a backlash against corruption investigations into FIFA members by BBC Panorama and the Sunday Times over the last two months. These investigations were criticised both by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and Spain/Portugal bid president Angel Villar Llona in his presentation to fellow FIFA members on Thursday.

Villar Llona: said: "I love FIFA dearly but those I love the most are my colleagues in the ExCo. Recently we have been criticised by many media outlets. Unfortunately for them FIFA is a clean institution.

"FIFA values honesty, FIFA works for football and for the world and all my colleagues here present are all honest, hard-working football people and the people not here are also honest and hard-working.

"You have already heard enough slander in the media, the bidding process is clean regardless of what they say."

Six FIFA officials were last month suspended following a Sunday Times investigations and on Monday BBC Panorama claimed three other FIFA members had taken bribes in the 1990s.

The defeat comes despite an impressive presentation by England that was described by FIFA president Sepp Blatter as "excellent and remarkable".

Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham all sparkled but were all outshone by 27-year-old Eddie Afekafe, who works on Manchester City's community programmes.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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