FIFA announced today that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup and that the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup.
The announcement came as a devastating blow to fans in both England and the United States, who were both hoping to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively. Many fans and members of the media immediately cried for calls of corruption on the inside of FIFA and their voters.
The issue that many people feel won it for these two countries is money, through both bribery and building new stadiums in the host countries.
One major question is whether Russia will be able to get these stadiums up in time. Nine of the stadiums that Russia will use the World Cup have yet to be built, and do we really expect the whole building process to run smoothly in Russia?
The bigger question comes after the tournament. What will these countries do with these stadiums? That is currently the problem going on in South Africa right now, and it is always the problem for every city that has ever hosted the Olympics.
Neither the United States nor England would have had to build a single stadium for the World Cup. The United States has several football stadiums capable of holding soccer matches with room for thousands of fans. They also have several soccer specific stadiums that would be available as training facilities.
In England, the country already has the new Wembley Stadium in London and are already building a new Olympic Stadium in London for the 2012 Olympics. In addition to that, they have several large football stadiums such as Old Trafford and Villa Park throughout the country because of the very successful English Premier League.
While those are all major reasons why FIFA should have given England and the United States the World Cup, there are some major benefits that USA Soccer will get from Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup.
On a very broad level, Qatar had one of the best plans for a World Cup ever. It remains a major question as to whether or not they will be able to pull it off.
As part of their contingency plan, Qatar plans to tear down an entire air-conditioned stadium and rebuild it in another hot and poor country after the World Cup. They also plan to give away large chunks of other stadiums to poor countries.
More specifically to the US though, a few weeks before the United States took on South Africa in a friendly I wrote about how the Unites States was at a disadvantage in World Football because they are from the United States (you can read that here USA Men's Soccer: Is The United States Hurt By Being From The United States?).
The article was about how within CONCACAF, there are a lack of competitive matches for teams to play during non-World Cup qualifying years. Teams may load up on friendlies, but friendlies lack the flow and competitiveness of real matches.
The US is trying to rebuild its team for the 2014 World Cup, and that team may be able to play together again in 2018, but by the time 2022 rolls around, the United States will need to rebuild once again.
While friendlies are great for introducing new players, you still need to see how those players will react when the matches are competitive and there is something on the line.
If the US were to host the 2022 World Cup, they would automatically qualify. That would mean they would not have to go through the qualification process. That would take away the best year to develop new players and build a cohesive team.
The year-and-a-half of World Cup qualifying is when teams learn who can play where and who can play with whom. It is when the teams play in difficult situations, and you see how the players will react. Taking that away from the US will just mean more friendlies, where you can only learn so much.
If the US hosted the 2022 World Cup, they would go four years without having many competitive matches. Only a Gold Cup and a Confederations Cup, two one-month tournaments, would be sprinkled in for the US to use their real team.
The year-and-a-half of qualifying will allow the United States to build up another great team that could have a chance at making a run in Qatar.
And for the US media, have you seen those hotels in Qatar? They could only be described in one way: beautiful.
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