July 24 - England may travel to Thailand for a friendly international next year as the Football Association tries to win support for its bid to host the 2018 World Cup, bid leader Andy Anson (pictured) admitted.



Anson, the chief executive of England's bid team for the 2018 World Cup, said Thailand, coached by former Everton and England midfielder Peter Reid, had extended an invitation and it was being considered during a visit to the South East Asian country.



Thailand's Worawi Makudi is one of 24 members of FIFA's ruling Executive Committee who will vote in December 2010 on which country will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.


Since launching its bid, England have already played a friendly in Trinidad & Tobago, whose Jack Warner is an influential member of the Executive Committee, and is discussing travelling to Qatar in November for a match.


Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hamman is also a member of the Executive Committee.


Anson said: "We are actively trying to find a date for England to play here in Thailand.


"Ultimately that is Fabio Capello's decision - he is the one who decides what type of teams England need to play against.


"But I think it would be fantastic to see England out here.

"There is a passion for England and the national team, it could work very well.

"We have to ultimately wait for England to qualify, then the draw and finally Fabio Capello and that is the way it should be."

England are 10 points clear of Croatia at the top of Group Six in European qualifying and are just one result away from booking their place in South Africa.


altGetting Makudi (pictured), President of the Football Association of Thailand and a long-time member of FIFA, onside is viewed as one of the major prizes by all the contenders.

Anson said: "Worawi has been a great help to us in giving us advice.


"He has been around the FIFA world much longer than I have.

"He has also been a big friend of English football for a long time.


"I am trying to meet all the FIFA Exco members at the moment, trying to get to know them, and hear what they expect from a World Cup in England."


Anson is continuing to refuse to accept that England are the favourites to stage the tournament in 2018 ahead of its rivals.


There are eight other bidders to host the 2018 World Cup.


They are Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the United States and joint bids from Holland and Belgium and Spain and Portugal.


Qatar and South Korea are bidding for just the 2022 tournament.


Anson said: "I think it is ours to win.


"We have got to work very hard to win it.


"There are so many competitors in the mix you just cannot take anything for granted.

"Out of the 11 bidding countries you have some very strong ones.


"If we sit back and rest on our laurels we would not have a chance, it is such a competitive landscape."

England last hosted the World Cup in 1966 when a Geoff Hurst hat-trick propelled them to victory in the final over West Germany and Anson believes they can present a compelling case for 2018.

He said: "Our starting point is always about the passion of the fans in England and the fact that in every community in England they are obsessed with football and the passion of football.

"And, if you add onto that the diversity of those communities, any team playing in the World Cup would probably pack a stadium full of its own fans who are based in England.

"We have great stadiums and the infrastructure, the security, the accommodation is all pretty much in place now.

"I think a World Cup would be very, very special in England."