Pele happy with Brazil 2014, would like England 2018

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SHEFFIELD, England, Nov 8 (Reuters) Brazil can stage a good World Cup in 2014 and England should have the tournament four years later, Pele said.

''Brazil isn't ready to stage the World Cup now, but there's no doubt Brazil will be prepared to stage it in seven years time,'' the Brazilian great said yesterday.

''Brazilians live football and when Brazil was handed the 2014 World Cup it was fantastic,'' he told a news conference in Sheffield.

Five times champions Brazil, who staged the World Cup in 1950, were handed the tournament last week under the continental rotation system, which is now no longer in force, after South Africa host it in 2012.

Pele backed England's bid to hold the tournament for the second time in 2018.

''England is always prepared for a World Cup.

''There is no need to build new stadiums because England has proved already they have good stadiums, so no doubt,'' said Pele, who played at the third of his four World Cups in England in 1966.

''The only problem is that countries in Europe are too close (to each other). We have had the World Cup in Germany, Italy and France and people think they are almost the same. They don't understand they are completely different countries.

''I think 12 years (from Germany 2006) is long enough and maybe after Brazil, England can get the World Cup.'' Pele disagreed with the belief of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that more English players are required in the Premier League if the England team are to improve.

''You have to have good players, not a lot of players,'' he said.

''If England has a good base of English players, maybe in the future they are going to have some good players in the national team.'' Pele, who helped mark the 150th anniversary of Sheffield FC, the oldest football club in the world, is helping Sheffield United forge links with Brazilian club Sao Paulo.

''It is the first time that an English club has a direct connection with a Brazilian team,'' he said.

''There are a lot of Brazilian players who can play in England and more teams should have this opportunity.'' REUTERS AB SSC1028

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