Brazil Clear 2014 Pick for South America

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Byline: Kent McDill Daily Herald Sports Writer

Imagine if the world's biggest sporting event was going to be held again in the United States. It was a guaranteed money-maker, a tourism coup of unprecedented scope.

In the first meeting of representatives of all 50 United States, it was then decided that, we'll let California have it. And the discussion ended before the ice in the post-meeting shrimp cocktail could melt. Well, that's what happened in South America last week.

In a singular meeting to decide which of the continent's 10 countries would host the 2014 World Cup, Brazil was the clear, obvious and uncontested choice. Unlike Africa, which is still pondering where to hold the 2010 Cup, South America is ready, willing and unified.

"No football anywhere has the merits of Brazil, with its five titles," said Nicolas Leoz, president of the South American confederation. "That is what earned it this distinction. We are proud of this selection."

In Africa, Nigeria suggested it could host the 2010 World Cup with the neighboring countries of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and Togo, but that plan was rejected by FIFA. The current favorite host country is South Africa, but Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia also have submitted bids.

It's the Beatles: The Manchester United tour of the United States this summer is such a significant moment for the game in this country, it's a shame Chicago can't take part. But soccer, it appears, is only welcome at Soldier Field, and Soldier Field won't be ready to host a game of any sort until late September or early October.

In Philadelphia, where the new Lincoln Financial Field will host a match between Manchester and FC Barcelona on Aug. …