The Royal Moroccan Football Federation announced on Friday that Morocco will bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Interested countries had until yesterday to make their intentions known. Before the official announcement, the joint bid presented by the United States, Mexico, and Canada had no contenders to face off.

The President of the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) Sunil Gulati said in a statement that the Bid Committee was prepared to compete with other countries considering “the value and importance” of the World Cup. According to him, the committee is already working on the bid that must be presented to FIFA by March 16, 2018.

The final decision regarding which country (or countries) will have the opportunity to host the event will be taken at the FIFA Congress to be held in June.

48 national teams

The 2026 World Cup will feature (for the first time ever) 48 national teams. That is why the number of host cities might increase. The United Bid Committee said that the list of cities interested in hosting the event will be disclosed next week. It is expected that the number of cities exceeds the final specifications required by FIFA.

If the joint bid wins, the 2026 edition will feature yet another novelty: the first time World Cup to be held in three different countries. Up to now, the 2002 edition was the only one to have two different host countries (Japan and South Korea).

Tradition in hosting World Cups

The last men’s World Cup held in North America was in 1994, in the United States. There were nine host cities, from coast to coast. The final match between Brazil and Italy was played in the Rose Bowl Stadium, in Pasadena. In that occasion (for the first time in history) the final was decided in a penalty shootout, as neither team scored and the match ended in a draw.

In the end, Brazil came out on top, ensuring its fourth title, an unprecedented feat at the time.

Mexico has yet more tradition in hosting World Cups. The 1970 and 1986 editions were held in the country. The 1970 edition was one of the most remarkable in history. The legendary Pelé was in his last World Cup. He led the team of Brazilian stars that crushed the contenders and beat Italy in the final for a thumping 4-1.

In 1986, Argentina won with a great performance by Maradona.

Although Canada has never hosted a men’s World Cup, the country hosted the 2015 edition of the Women’s World Cup. The Canadian Women's national team is also a very strong contender, having reached the semi-final in 2003, in the United States. The U.S. has also hosted the 1999 edition of the event.