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North America will host the 2026 World Cup

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The World Cup is returning to the United States for the first time since 1994.

Early this morning FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced that the united CONCACAF bid of the United States, Mexico, and Canada won the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup.

With Morocco as the only other nominee, a close vote was expected among the just over 200 national soccer federations meeting in Russia before the start of this year’s World Cup. Instead, the North American nominee ran away with the results, securing 134 votes compared to Morocco’s 65.

“Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup is a rare and important moment to demonstrate that we are all truly united through sport,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro in a joint press release. “We are humbled by the trust our colleagues in the FIFA familiy have put in our bid; strengthened by the unity between our three countries and the CONCACAF region; and excited by the opportunity we have to put football on a new and sustainable path for generations to come.”

One of the obstacles it was believed the U.S. would have to overcome was its current political leadership. Under President Donald Trump, the country has faced international backlash and scrutiny. There was a question as to whether or not Trump’s policies would prove detrimental to the bid. It proved to be inconsequential. In the end, it came down to the same things it often does in these processes: money and infrastructure.

On the financial side, the joint bid promised a staggering $14 billion in revenue.

From a practicality standpoint, no bid would have been better equipped to handle the transition from 32 teams to 48 teams. The North American bid has 23 potential host cities and over 150 proposed training sites. Many of the possible stadiums are already built and ready to handle the 80 games, including MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, which is expected to host the final.

Of those 80 games, 60 will take place in the United States. Canada and Mexico will host 10 matches each, all of which will come before the quarterfinals of the competition.

It also seems very likely Philadelphia will host World Cup action. The tournament will fall on the 250th anniversary of this country. What better way than to celebrate the Declaration of Independence than to play a game in the city in which it was signed. There is all substance to support that stylistic ideal. Philadelphia has hosted the U.S. national team in each of the last three summers and hosted the final of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. It will also host contests of the same competition next year.

After the U.S. Men’s National team failed to qualify for this year’s tournament in Russia, it seemed unlikely the 2018 World Cup would offer a reprieve. Against the odds, the U.S. secured a World Cup victory a day before the tournament kicked off.

6 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    The one thing that bugs me is that all of the games outside the US will be before the quarterfinals. Seems like the Azteca should be hosting a semifinal.

    • Totally agree with this. I’d be ok with Azteca hosting the final. The only US stadium that comes close is the Rose Bowl (which likely also won’t be holding the final).

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        believe the final is already set to be played at MetLife in New York… I mean NJ.

  2. Article from ESPN does not include Philly as a city that “should be chosen”.
    .
    http://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/4/blog/post/3523349/2026-world-cup-bid-won-by-us-mexico-and-canada-which-venues-could-host-games
    .
    2026 will mark 250 years since the declaration of independence was signed where again?

  3. Great One says:

    Gotta be in Philly (please!?). I am so amped for this. My son will be 9, hopefully the US team will be stronger. This will be an amazing summer no matter what.

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