World Cup awarded to North America

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On the eve of the men's 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match in Russian Federation, soccer's world governing body FIFA awarded the right to host the men's 2026 World Cup to the United Bid featuring Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Morocco, which has now lost five bid campaigns, was classy in defeat - congratulating the North American winners. Morocco's bid, for example, received vocal support from France and a large contingent of Middle Eastern and North African nations.

So Morocco concentrated its pitch on the country's undisputed passion for football, the notion that Africa deserves another World Cup after South Africa 2010, its far more compact offering and Euro-friendly time zone.

Team Canada player and Whitecaps forward Alphonso Davies shares his story of being welcomed with open arms by Canadians and explains that he knows the people of North America will do the same for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ if the United Bid wins the vote.

Canada failed in its lone previous bid - to host the 1986 tournament after Colombia pulled out as host.

Whether FIFA also extends this courtesy to Mexico and Canada - the latter a relative nonentity in global soccer that has qualified for just one World Cup in 1986 - remains to be seen.

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from NY, said: "While the official name of the bid is United 2026, the three potential host nations are right now anything but united".

More than 200 FIFA member associations will then cast their ballot, deciding who gets to hold soccer's biggest showcase.

Under the current blueprint, the USA would host the lion's share of games with 60, compared to 10 each for Canada (with Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto serving as host cities) and Mexico.

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

Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City are up for consideration in Mexico, while Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton are the Canadian cities that have been proposed.

After considering separate bids for the 2026 World Cup, the federations that govern soccer in Mexico, Canada and the United States chose to launch a cooperative effort to host the tournament in April 2017.

Typically, the host nation gets an automatic berth in the World Cup.

"Hosting a FIFA World Cup is an extraordinary honor and privilege", Steven Reed, President of Canada Soccer, said in a statement.

The fact is that the joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the United States has been the front-runner from the moment the partnership was formed two years ago.

Several members of that committee were later banned from the sport after they were caught up in the corruption scandal that engulfed world football's governing body in 2015. According to a report in the Free Press Journal, Brazil even promised to look after India's expenses during the World Cup. The bid also expects record ticket and hospitality revenue.

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