|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
The leaders of Australia's bid for the 2018 World Cup believe the growing number of European rivals for the tournament could work in their favour.
England are the early favourites, but now Russia plus joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium have entered the race, Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley hopes that will split the powerful European vote on FIFA's 24-man executive committee.
Buckley told the Sydney Morning Herald: ''It's not surprising that there's so much interest from Europe.
''I think with Spain and Portugal coming into the mix with England, Holland and Belgium, and Russia, the four bidders from Europe, it certainly makes it a very competitive field.
''But it also opens up opportunities for Australia in that it's not necessarily a single bidder from one confederation.''
However Australia are unlikely to be the only candidate from the Asian confederation - Qatar are set to launch their bid next week while Japan and China are also considering doing so.
FIFA announced last month there would be a simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, though a country will not be considered for 2022 if their continent is hosting 2018.
The decision on both tournaments will be made in December 2010.