The world's most successful footballing country last night delivered a fresh lifeline to England's under-fire bid to host the World Cup in 2018.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the time was right for the tournament to come back to Britain for the first time since 1966.
His comments came as England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman admitted he had made mistakes during his campaign.
President Lula said: “I think now is the time for the UK to host a Fifa cup again.
“I believe that the last one that England hosted, the first and only one, was in 1966.
“And so that's already been 44 years ago that the UK hosted the Fifa cup.
“The soccer that England has been presenting and the capacity of their clubs and by the competitive insurance for finance and investments I believe that England will always have the competence and will always be a country that will have a great force, great strength to win bid for the Fifa cup.”
Lord Triesman, who is flying to South Africa this week for England's World Cup draw, said Brazil's backing was “really important”. He added that Mr Lula had been “a huge advocate of English football — he loves it”.
Lord Triesman admitted he may have made a mistake in trying to reach a consensus over the World Cup bid.
But he said: “My absolute determination is to succeed in this bid and to fulfil the responsibility that I was given.”