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Australia to announce bid for '08 FIFA WC

"We deserve it, the one part of world that's never hosted the Cup is Pacific Basin," Australian soccer chief said.

india Updated: Jul 22, 2006 19:57 IST

Australian soccer chief executive John O'Neill said on Friday that Football Federation Australia will officially announce its plan to bid for the 2018 World Cup within the next two weeks.

In Adelaide to watch the Australian women's team train ahead of its Women's World Cup qualifier with North Korea tomorrow, O'Neill said the need to bring the men's tournament to the Pacific Basin for the first time was the FFA's strongest bargaining tool.

"In the next couple of weeks, the FFA will come out with a definitive statement, likely to be that we will bid for 2018," O'Neill said.

"We deserve it, the one part of the world that's never hosted the World Cup, after South Africa has hosted in 2010, is the Pacific Basin," he said. "England has been mentioned as the other candidate for 2018 and there's a presumption that the tournament has to go back to Europe every third time, and that's why I'm conscious we have to have our eyes open."

Meanwhile, O'Neill said Graham Arnold would be interim coach for the men's team's two Asian Cup qualifying matches.

Australia takes on Kuwait in Sydney on August 16 and Lebanon in Adelaide on August 31 as it attempts to qualify for the finals of the Asian Cup to be played in July 2007.

Chief executive John O'Neill said the FFA was still in the hunt for a long-term replacement for former national coach Guus Hiddink, who is now guiding Russia after leading Australia to the second round of the World Cup in Germany.

Arnold was coach for Australia's first Asian Cup qualifier, a 3-1 win over Bahrain at Manama in February.