Germany clinches bid to host 2006 World Cup
Germany has won the right to stage the 2006 World Cup after the narrowest-ever vote by the executive committee of the international football federation, Fifa, in Zurich. Germany edged South Africa by just one vote.
Germany won by a 12-11 margin, after the ballot of the 24-member executive committee. There was one abstention.
Announcing the result, the Swiss president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, said the federation had faced a choice between innovation and trusting a new continent or sticking with the established football countries.
On Wednesday, South Africa had been tipped to win the vote, with unofficial reports saying its margin of victory might be as high as 14-10.
But analysts say the head of the German delegation, footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer, made a powerful and convincing presentation on Wednesday, when representatives of all four competing nations made their final pitch to the executive committee.
The German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, as well as a host of German sporting personalities were also in Zurich to lend weight to the country's bid.
After the vote, Beckenbauer thanked Fifa for its confidence in Germany, and said he was "a little surprised...but very happy" with the result.
Germany's win was clinched in the third round of voting. Morocco was eliminated in the first round after receiving only three votes, and the fourth contender, England, went out in the next round leaving Germany and South Africa in the final ballot.
swissinfo with agencies
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