Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has played down England's status as favourites to host the 2018 World Cup after a visit by bid leaders to FIFA headquarters.
Triesman, who is also chairman of the bid, led a delegation to Zurich, including England head coach Fabio Capello, to meet FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Afterwards Triesman said: "I am not going to start with the belief that we are favourites."
He added: "We have to demonstrate that we can win it on merit but very often it is the toughest competition that sharpens your game the most.
"I welcome this like I would welcome the kind of match between two clubs at the top of their game."
Andy Burnham, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, also travelled to Zurich to affirm the Government's backing for the bid.
Triesman added: "It was extremely helpful to be able to confirm the Government's support for the initiative."
Capello is one of the bid vice-presidents and said it was time football "came home".
The Italian told Sky Sports News: "I think England would be a fantastic place for the World Cup.
"The stadia are okay, the people are fantastic as well so I think it needs to come back here after so many years. I hope this will be in 2018 because England is the place where football was born. I think England needs football to come back home."
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