Future of 2022, 2026 World Cups decided

All 32 teams for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are set; List of host cities for the FIFA World Cup USA, Mexico & Canada 2026 were announced, including the Bay Area.

This+week%2C+the+last+two+teams+qualified+for+the+2022+World+Cup+and+the+Bay+Area+was+selected+as+one+of+the+16+host+cities+for+the+2026+FIFA+World+Cup.

Graphic by Joseph Zuloaga '23

This week, the last two teams qualified for the 2022 World Cup and the Bay Area was selected as one of the 16 host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Joseph Zuloaga '23, National and World News Editor

This week was pivotal in the world of soccer, as the future of both the 2022 and 2026 World Cups were defined. 

Doha, Qatar played host to the 2022 FIFA World Cup intercontinental playoffs on June 13 and June 14. Inside Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Peru, Australia, Costa Rica, and New Zealand played their hearts out–vying for the last two spots out of 32 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, starting this November. 

Australia first defeated Peru 5-4 in penalty kicks, while Costa Rica later edged out New Zealand 1-0 for the last ticket to Qatar.

Gerald Aguirre ’23, a devout supporter of Peru, stated, “I think that the feeling of all Peruvians when we heard the final whistle of the game is indescribable, not only because of how we lost but also because that whistle took with it four years of waiting and 18 games in which the fans were always supportive.” 

He however added, “… but Peruvians will always support the national soccer team in good times, bad times, and the worst times.”

Looking forward four years from now in 2026, the next World Cup will be hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Four years after the United bid was seen as the perfect match to host the 2026 World Cup, on June 16, the host cities of the 48 team, 80 match tournament were announced, with San Francisco/Bay Area being selected as one of the 11 cities in the United States. Games would be played at Levi’s Stadium.

Bradley Campos ’23 stated, “As a native San Franciscan, I am happy that we were selected as a host city for the 2026 World Cup.”

As a native San Franciscan, I am happy that we were selected as a host city for the 2026 World Cup.”

— Bradley Campos '23

Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Canada’s Vancouver and Toronto, and Mexico’s Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City round out the 16 cities across the three nations. 

Washington D.C./Baltimore and Denver were considered as two big snubs not making the final cut, with Cincinnati, Edmonton, Nashville, and Orlando also on that list, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino seemed to confirm that a FIFA fanfest would be held at the nation’s capital, along the National Mall.

This World Cup will bring unprecedented opportunities to the North American continent, including a massive stimulus of local economies, like the Bay Area, with people all around the globe coming to the North American cities to cheer on their teams. Tourists flocking to hotels, eating at restaurants, shopping at local businesses, etc. will boost the economies of the host cities, putting them on the global map for hosting such an important worldwide event like the World Cup.

“This event will help the development of soccer in the Bay Area and help families come together to support their favorite team. It will increase tourism, and San Francisco may be even more recognized worldwide,” added Aguirre.

This event will help the development of soccer in the Bay Area and help families come together to support their favorite team. It will increase tourism, and San Francisco may be even more recognized worldwide.”

— Gerald Aguirre '23

Soccer is a continuously growing sport, especially in the CONCACAF region–the confederation where Canada, the US, and Mexico play. The final of the previous World Cup in Russia attracted a shattering 1.1 billion viewers worldwide. Infantino predicted that by 2026, soccer will be the number one sport in North America. When Fox Sports’ Rob Stone raised the NFL as an objector to Infantino’s assessment, Telemundo’s Andres Cantor countered it and labeled the 2026 FIFA World Cup as “80 Super Bowls rolled into one month.”

FIFA will now meet with the host cities to establish a timeline for the announcement of the number of games each city will host, and who will host the highly-anticipated World Cup Final. 

Right now, however, Bay Area fans and the world look to Qatar when in five months time, the ball will roll on Nov. 21 to kick off this year’s World Cup, but at the same time keeping 2026 in the rearview mirror when the World Cup makes its triumphant arrival in The Great White North of Canada, las Tierras Aztecas of Mexico, and the Land of the Freedom of the United States of America.