Canada will be one of three nations to host the 2026 World Cup of Soccer.They will be joined by the United States and Mexico.
In an exciting announcement made on Wednesday from Moscow, the United bid of Canada, the United States and Mexico received 134 of the 200 votes. Morocco had 65 votes, while one person did not vote.
This will be the first time ever that 48 teams will participate in the World Cup. Since 1998, there have been 32 nations that have qualified for each World Cup.
However, there is no guarantee that Canada will participate as a team in 2026. The qualification process has yet to be decided and there is no decision yet if FIFA will grant any automatic qualifications. What hurts Canada’s chances is the fact that they are currently 79th in the world. What does go in Canada’s favour however is that their 79th ranking is an improvement. Canada was actually ranked 118th in 2016. It should also be noted that every host country in the history of the World Cup has participated in the tournament.
Games will take place at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec and Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. The initial bid has 10 of the 80 games to be played in Canada, however the FIFA Council still has to determine the complete schedule.
This is the first time that three nations are hosting a World Cup. In 2002, the World Cup was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, That was the first time that two nations hosted the event. Japan reached the round of 16 and South Korea reached the semifinals.
This will also be the first time the World Cup will be in Canada. Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986, and the United States hosted the event in 1994.
Sportsnet meanwhile announced today it was the biggest day in Canadian soccer history. Due to the fact that today’s announcement brings more questions than answers, it is completely too early to make that assessment.
In my opinion, there have been many bigger days in Canadian soccer than today. Those include, the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which were held exclusively in Canada. The Canadians beat China 1-0 to open the tournament in Edmonton and Switzerland 1-0 in Vancouver in the round of 16. Canada has also had fantastic success in the last two Olympic Games where they have won bronze in women’s soccer each time.
Other great moments include 2000, where Canada shocked the sports world when they beat Colombia 2-0 to win the Gold Cup in Los Angeles. In 1985, Canada qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico by beating Honduras twice–1-0 in Honduras and 2-1 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It also should be noted that Canada won the gold medal in men’s soccer at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis.
Even though there were only three teams competing in men’s soccer at the 1904 Olympic Games, the bottom line is that the achievements made by Canadian soccer players on the pitch deserve to considered bigger and more reason to celebrate than the decisions made by those off of it. Time will tell if today’s announcement truly will be a memorable one in the history of Canadian soccer.