MOSCOW, RUSSIA (June 13, 2018) – The United States joint World Cup bid has been successful. Along with Mexico and Canada, the U.S. will host the 2026 World Cup, becoming just the sixth country to host multiple World Cups (along with Mexico).
FIFA 2026 World Cup Awarded to Joint Canada, Mexico, United States Bid
The CONCACAF nations joint bid beat out Morocco (the only other bid submitted) for the tournament. While FIFA corruption cannot be underestimated (the United States lost to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup after all), Morocco’s bid was littered with concerns, beginning with an excess of billions of dollars needed to be spent on stadium and infrastructure development.
On the other side, the joint CONCACAF bid required minimal (if any infrastructure investment) as all three host countries have a number of World Cup caliber stadiums. This will be critical as the 2026 World Cup will be the first to incorporate 48 teams. Thus more games and more venues will be needed.
This decision will complicate things slightly for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. For the first time in a generation, the United States and Mexico will not need to qualify through normal qualification and will just play friendlies to tune up for the tournament. Canada will also be making their first appearance since the 1986 World Cup (unless they make it to Qatar in 2022). With the expanded World Cup format, CONCACAF could be looking at going from 3-4 teams in the tournament to 5-6. This will be an opportunity for nations that have not made the World Cup in decades (or ever) to qualify and do so without competing with the Yanks or El Tri.
Most critically, this is a huge opportunity for the three host nations. By 2026, Canada will have the Canadian Premier League up in running as they look to bring a new standard to their national team program. The United States and Mexico will be hosting their second and third tournaments, respectively. The 1994 World Cup allowed for stable league formation as MLS came into existence. Previous World Cups provided Mexico new soccer development and opportunities for players abroad.
The 2026 World Cup will take the game (through the expanded format) and the three host nations to new heights as they continue to grow the beautiful game at home and abroad.