London: The British government has agreed to back an England bid to stage the 2018 World Cup even though the Football Association has not yet announced it will be a candidate. FIFA is expected to rule that the 2018 World Cup will be staged in Europe, and England, which already has top-quality stadiums, would be a leading candidate to stage soccer's biggest event for the first time since 1966. Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who is the leading candidate to succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister some time later this year, said he would support an England bid for a World Cup six years after London stages the Olympics. "Everything is in place and we now have to go out and sell it and show that the enthusiasm of the young people is such that, if we win, this will be the greatest sporting decade for our country," Brown said. "(If) we have the Olympics in 2012, the World Cup in 2018, I think we would be the greatest sporting nation in the world because so many young people will want to be sports men and women of the future," he added. Although Brown is a Scot, traditionally one of England's biggest soccer rivals, he says he would be happy to associate himself with a bid. "I have been around the world. I have been in Asia, America and Europe, and I think there is great support for England having it 50 years after we won the World Cup in 1966," he said. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, whose also covers sports, said that a study document suggested England was well placed to stage the event. London is due to stage the 2012 Olympics and the government hopes to take advantage of the euphoria from that event to beat other European candidates. FIFA, which has given the 2010 World Cup to Africa and 2014 to South America, has another three years to decide which confederation should get the 2018 tournament. Germany hosted last year's World Cup.