The United States has eight years to brush up on its soccer knowledge after FIFA announced that the World Cup will be hosted by the country alongside Canada and Mexico in 2026. The North American bid easily beat the bid submitted by Morocco by a tally of 134 votes to just 64.
It is the fourth time ever that the tournament will be held in North America, Mexico hosting it twice in 1970 and 1986 before the United States in 1994.
This will be the first time that three countries will join together to host the competition. The 2002 World Cup was the only time that multiple countries hosted in Japan and South Korea.
The United States will hold the overwhelming majority of the games as Mexico and Canada will host 10 each, accounting for 20 of the tournament’s matches. Much of that has to do with its existing infrastructure that includes a plethora of large stadiums in major cities that will attract millions of fans.
The World Cup semifinals and Final is expected to be held in the United States the same year the competition expands its field from 32 to 48 countries.
FIFA’s decision-making process for the 2026 World Cup was significantly different after corruption charges during the 2010 selection of the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) hosts. Instead of a 24-man committee, over 200 member nations held a vote.
There were some political concerns surrounding the possibility of the United States hosting the tournament. The international perception of President Donald Trump is less than favorable, especially after his travel and immigration policies regarding Muslim countries. But during the delegation process, FIFA president Carlos Cordeiro presented three letters from the White House stating that it would have no bearing on the tournament whatsoever, per the New York Times.
The 2018 World Cup, which kicks off on Thursday in Russia, will feature four Arab nations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco.