x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

England were too arrogant

I have to admit I am embarrassed to be English given the pitiful reaction to defeat in the battle to host the 2018 World Cup.

I was almost four years old when England won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966. I can't remember a thing. Not even a blurry image of the final on our black and white television or a party in the front room.

But I know the story back to front and one of the privileges of being a football writer is that over the years I have met all those England legends such as the late Bobby Moore and Sir Bobby Charlton.

However, I have to admit I am embarrassed to be English given the pitiful reaction to defeat in the battle to host the 2018 World Cup, a fallout that shows no sign of abating in the English press.

Yes, I wanted England to win but Fifa made the right decision to choose Russia. In some way the strengths of England's bid - the fact the stadia and infrastructure is in place - proved a weakness. Russia have a lot of new stadiums to build and that sits well with Fifa's aim to leave a legacy.

It is also a bit rich for the English Football Association to start whimpering about alleged corruption. This by an FA who a decade ago reneged on a deal with Germany over bidding for the 2006 World Cup.

Some have blamed the English media and the timing of a television documentary exposing dodgy dealing by Fifa delegates.

But in truth it was the FA's strategy that did the most damage to the English bid.

England thought that the likes of David Beckham and Prince William would be enough to woo a world that actually is not all seduced by the fame game.

Fifa has its faults, but its members did not like the arrogance on which the English bid was based.

sports@thenational.ae