Fifa’s top 22 executives will today vote on whether England, Russia or joint bids from Spain/Portugal bid or Belgium/Netherlands will host the 2018 World Cup.
Fifa is expected to announce the 2018 winner about 1500 GMT, with the decision for the 2022 World Cup - being contested by Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and the United States - to follow today.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and Ex-England captain David Beckham are fronting the England’s 2018 bid. They are being accompanied by England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson and Eddie Afekafe, who works with a Manchester City community football programme.
At 10.00 GMT the five-man England bid team will make its five-man 2018 bid team makes its presentation to Fifa’s executive committee - which will also decide - with Russia presenting an hour later.
Lord Coe, who played a crucial role in London’s 2012 Olympic bid, is a 2018 board member and has been providing strategic advice.
“There may well be Fifa executive committee members who think they are absolutely fixed in their view, and this is where they are going to go, but a really strong presentation, with a really clear message and some emotional appeal can make a difference,” said Coe.
(Miss Spain using city.mobi - the definitive mobile city guide - during Fifa 2010 in Johanessburg)
Spain and Portugal’s bid team was also hoping that Cristiano Ronaldo would make an appearance, but the injured Real Madrid forward is unable to attend.
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has not travelled to Zurich, claiming that Fifa has been the victim of a smear campaign and should be left to make its decision “in peace and without any outside pressure”.
Spain/Portugal bid chief Miguel Angel Lopez feels it is a two-horse race between his nations and England.
“We are confident, we are not certain. We think we will win, we have eight votes for sure and it looks like it will be against England in the final round.”
In the event of a tie, Fifa president Sepp Blatter will have the casting vote.
If England does secure the right to stage the 2018 World Cup it would represent a remarkable turnaround given the furore that has engulfed world governing body Fifa over corruption allegations following the screening of a BBC Panorama programme.
And on the eve of Thursday’s vote, there was an unwelcome reminder of the dark days of English football, with violence at the end of Birmingham’s win over city rivals Aston Villa at St Andrew’s in the Carling Cup with police in riot gear clearing fans off the pitch.
However Beckham, speaking before the Midlands derby, believes England’s bid has all the ingredients to be successful.
“There is not one negative about having a World Cup in our country,” he said.
“Nowhere in the world has facilities like we do. I’m not just talking about stadiums but travel, hotels; all over the country we are set up for a big competition, so that’s why we’re ready.”