Who will win World Cup 2018? Vote for your champion!

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

A joint bid by North American countries comprising USA, Mexico and Canada has won the rights to host the 2026 Fifa World Cup tournament.

The US hosted the World Cup in 1994, while football-crazy Mexico hosted in 1970 and in 1986, the tournament remembered for Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal. The north Americans pledged their tournament would generate an $11 billion profit, while Morocco, which has now failed in five bids to host a World Cup, said theirs would make five billion.

The North American bid was in better shape to host the World Cup.

Yet that could be the decisive factor, along with the reality that 2026 will (probably) be the first finals to stage 48 teams.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be glad to host everyone in Moscow, when asked if he would invite high-ranking US officials.

The main intervention by President Donald Trump was a warning in a White House news conference, discussing the Federation Internationale de Football Association vote, that he would be "watching very closely". One congress member voted for "neither bid".

"Hosting the 2026 FIFA World CupTM is a rare and important moment to demonstrate that we are all truly united through sport", said Carlos Cordeiro, President of U.S. Soccer and Co‐Chair of the United Bid. "Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?" he wrote.

"We believe strongly that this decision will be made on its merits", Cordeiro, the bid leader, told reporters. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar.

To cut down on travel, the US -led bid proposed having teams play all their games in the same regional areas. Thirty-two teams are vying for a place in history at football's most prestigious tournament this summer.

"We see very limited economic impact at the national level given the limited duration of the World Cup and the very large size of the country's economy", Moody's analysts said in a report last May, adding that the expected boost to tourism "will likely be short-lived".

"FIFA was clinically dead as an organization", Infantino said, reflecting on his election in 2016. In addition, the United bid projected to bring in $14 billion, double that of Morocco.

The North America bid also had to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

While Morocco had some key factors in its favour - its much more friendly time-zone for the key TV markets of Europe, its footballing culture and potential tournament legacy - on infrastructural and financial fronts, the United bid blew it out of the water.