Simon Kuper explains why these two Cold War rivals could end up hosting back to back World Cups.
Simply, England, the emotional favourite lacks friends in FIFA. Plus, the head honchos hate the British tabloids. Russia on the other hand is an untapped FIFA market, has new money, and Vladimir Putin carries more clout than any faceless football administrator.
The USA is the 2022 frontrunner because China is planning to bid for 2026 which would make it the prohibitive favourite. Since FIFA's rule strictly forbids the same continent hosting consecutive World Cup and since USA being the only non- Asian zone country amongst the 2022 bidders - by process of elimination, the USA comes out on top.