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Beckham to present England's World Cup bid to FIFA

ROB HARRIS|AP Sports Writer

England's World Cup bid team hopes David Beckham's star quality will dazzle FIFA when it hands over its official documents on Friday, and Princes William and Harry will lobby for support at this year's tournament in South Africa.

While an Achilles' tendon injury has ended Beckham's hopes of playing at a fourth World Cup this June, the Los Angles Galaxy midfielder will be leading the bid delegation to FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

"The great thing about David is that if he suddenly appeared in any village on the planet, everyone would know who he was," Football Association chairman David Triesman said Monday. "People love seeing him and he will play a leading role in the presentation of the book."

Each country vying to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups will hand over bid books containing technical details on Friday, with England's taking up 1,752 pages.

Technical inspections of all the countries are due between July and September, and the vote by FIFA's 24-man executive committee is on Dec. 2.

The bid team also hopes a royal reception in South Africa in June with Princes William and Harry will help win over voters.

The royal brothers, who have never officially toured overseas together, will be in Cape Town for the first-round match against Algeria on June 18, six days after England's opener against the United States.

England's bid hasn't been helped by criticism of the Wembley Stadium field, with another new playing surface laid last month — the 11th since the rebuilt home of English soccer opened in 2007.

With several FIFA executive committee members expected for the FA Cup final on Saturday between Chelsea and Portsmouth, the bid team will hope problems with the slippery, uneven field have been eradicated.

One of the FIFA members England hopes to persuade is Worawi Makudi of Thailand. England announced Monday it will play Thailand, which is coached by former captain Bryan Robson, for the first time in June 2011.

Officially, the match is to celebrate the 65th anniversary of King Bhumibol's accession to the Thai throne.

Before the FIFA vote, Triesman also hopes president Sepp Blatter will be able to make an official visit to England to meet whoever emerges as prime minister following Britain's deadlocked general election.

England, Australia, Russia and the United States plus joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands are competing to host either 2018 or 2022. Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022, believing Europe is favored for 2018.