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Saudi Crown Prince heads to Russian Federation for World Cup

14 June 2018

The joint bid had been the front-runner for the 48-team tournament from the moment a North American coalition was first mooted two years ago, and there have been spells when it has looked like the only credible candidate.

The United States, Mexico and Canada will host soccer's biggest event in 2026.

World Cup opening games have traditionally been a specialist taste, enjoyed by people who remember the sight of the Queen and Tony Blair holding hands to sing Auld Lang Syne under the Millennium Dome as 1999 turned into 2000, and Prince gave way to Pulp, when all that anticipation and expense dissolved into the dampest of squibs in the English rain.

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of team Saudi Arabia take part in a motorcycle race on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup near the Bolshoi Theatre in central Moscow, Russia June 13, 2018.

It marks the fifth time the North African country has failed to secure the right to host the worldwide football tournament.

U.S. soccer president Carlos Corderio said after his bid's success on Wednesday: "It's a bit emotional for us today". And, referencing track one, side one of that very LP, "you don't know how lucky you are boys*' ..." "Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2026".

"The handsome game transcends borders and cultures. Congratulations - a great deal of hard work!"

Russian Federation was among those to switch from backing Morocco to the North American effort at the last minute.

Morocco FA president Fouzi Lekjaa said: "I would like to reaffirm the determination of my country, Morocco, to continue to work for football, to work for the youth and also to realise some day our dream to host the World Cup in Morocco".

The Football Association has not hosted the tournament since 1966, having failed in bids for the 1990, 2006 and 2018 tournaments. Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington are all possible locations for USA games, with Canada's taking place in Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto, and Mexico's potential host cities being Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey.

Just to add to the complexity, there was a third option for all voters: neither Morocco or United and we would have had to start a new bidding process.

Saudi Crown Prince heads to Russian Federation for World Cup