David Beckham may have been second in the alphabetized running order of nations submitting bids to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup at a ceremony at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, but he was certainly the biggest celebrity to throw his star power behind his country's bid.
The English soccer star officially put England's name in the hat by handing over a detailed 'bid book' of England proposal as a host nation to FIFA head Sepp Blatter.
"We have a lot of passion for the game and passion for bringing the biggest sporting event to the country," said Beckham, who was flanked by officials from England's Football Association.
"This is something that runs throughout our country, our veins, it's something that we were brought up with," he added.
David Cameron, just days into his job as Great Britain's newest prime minister, also lent his support to England's cause in a phone call to Blatter on Thursday.
Europe due for a World Cup?
Rounding out the field of nine potential hosts to host either the 2018 or the 2022 edition of the World Cup were three additional delegations from Europe, four from Asia and the United States. Russia joined England as solo-country hosts, while the Netherlands have teamed up with Belgium and Spain has paired with Portugal in joint bids.
Australia, Japan, Qatar, and South Korea rounded out the list of bidding countries. With the world's biggest sporting event coming to the African continent for the first time this summer in South Africa, and a long-awaited return to South America four years later in Brazil, observers say a return to Europe in 2018 is likely, followed by Asia in 2022.
Japan, Qatar, and South Korea have specifically submitted their bids for the 2022 edition only.
The last European World Cup was the 2006 edition in Germany, and it was preceded by a co-hosted tournament by Japan and South Korea in 2002.
While England hoped to use Beckham's celebrity status to its advantage as the complex round of lobbying for the World Cup begins, other nations opted for different tactics to draw attention to their bids.
Ruud Gullit, a former Dutch player and current coach, rode a bicycle to the FIFA headquarters with his delegation in support of an environmentally friendly tournament hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium.
"We try to give two million bikes to all the fans, so they can go everywhere," Gullit said.
Japan's bid book contained pop out origami sculpture on top of a PDA device with the bid details saved on it.
The host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are scheduled to be announced by FIFA on December 2.
Editor: Andreas Illmer