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Germany will host in 2006 after winning by one vote in fourth ballot.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Thursday, July 8, 2000) – In a decision that angered representatives in Africa and South America, international governing body FIFA awarded the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

By a single vote of the 24-member FIFA executive committee, Germany was chosen to stage the quadrennial tournament despite a plea from FIFA president Sepp Blatter that the competition be given to South Africa. The voters decided to stick with the tradition of a European country hosting every eight years.

The final vote came on the fourth round of balloting when Germany received 12 votes and South Africa 11, with New Zealand abstaining. Scotland, it turns out, held the deciding vote.

Germany, most observers agreed, made by far the best presentation to FIFA’s executives. It was a slick production featuring bid leader Franz Beckenbauer, former greats Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Juergen Klinsmann, as well as model Claudia Schiffer.

In the first round of voting, Germany won 10 votes to six for South Africa, five to England and three to Morocco. Morocco, bidding for the third time, was then eliminated.

Germany and South Africa were tied at 11 votes each in the second round and third rounds with England holding two votes.

Scotland and New Zealand had said they would back England all the way. With England dropping out after the third round, reportedly, Scotland's David Will gave his vote to Germany. Apparently fearing a long deadlock, Charles Dempsey of New Zealand abstained, thus Germany won 12-11.

The decision means that Europe gets the World Cup for the 10th time while no African nation has yet hosted. Europe last had the World Cup in France two years ago.

This will mark the first time a unified Germany has hosted. The 1974 Cup was hosted by West Germany.

In announcing the final vote, Blatter voiced his hope that South Africa would be the choice to host in 2010. But there are problems on the horizon.

The choice of Germany has angered both African and South American nations. Brazil was the fifth bidder for 2006, but withdrew its bid in a deal made with South Africa. In agreeing to withdraw its bid and throwing its votes to South Africa, the South Americans got a pledge from the African nations to back Brazil to host in 2010. Now, it looks as if Brazil and South Africa will go head to head for 2010.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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