Russia and Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup finals for 2018 and 2022 respectively after FIFA's 22-member panel voted through a secret ballot at Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.

Russia secured absolute majority of 13 votes in the second round of voting to hold off competition from England, Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.

Russian deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was elated when he said, You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise, we all can promise, you will never regret it. Let us make history together.''

Qatar became the first country in the middle-east which will host a football World Cup when they were awarded the 2022 World Cup finals after beating competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

Russia received nine votes in the first round of voting and an outright majority of 13 in the second round, while Qatar obtained an outright majority of 14 in the fourth round of voting for 2022.

It is the first time that either Russia or Qatar has been chosen as host nation for the World Cup.

The decisions from the committee come as a surprise as England and Spain/Portugal were fancied for the 2018 World Cup while USA and Australia were the front-runners for the 2022 World Cup Finals.

Qatar's staging of the tournament had under some criticism as during June-July, the temperatures could go up to 50 Celsius.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Thani said,On behalf of millions of people living in the Middle East, thank you. Thank you for believing in us, thank you for having such bold vision. Thank you also for acknowledging this is the right time for the Middle East. We have a date with history which is summer 2022.

England's bid team, which included Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham, will feel specially aggrieved after managing only 2 votes before being eliminated in the first round despite making an impressive final pitch, while lobbying many influential committee members.

 However, England may have suffered a backlash after corruption allegations from BBC Panorama and The Sunday Times in the past two months, putting FIFA under scrutiny.

Ex-England skipper, David Beckham who was a prominent member of England's bid team said, I think the bid team have done everything possible. We couldn't have got a better bid. We're disappointed but we wish Qatar and Russia the very best. They're two great countries and I'm sure they'll make FIFA very proud.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF), who had joined hands with Portugal and tabled a bid for hosting the 2018 World Cup, congratulated Russia and Qatar in a statement.

The Spanish football federation wishes to extent its most sincere congratulations to the football federations of Russia and Qatar after being chosen to organise the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively,'' the RFEF said in a statement.

The United States of America, who were touted to win the rights to host the 2022 showpiece event, went out in the fourth and last round of voting after Qatar secured an absolute majority of 14 votes. The head of the U.S. World Cup bid team said it was very difficult to take''

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said, There's no way around it: I am disappointed. But he added, Even though our bid did not win, the future of soccer is bright in the United States.''