World Cup Goes To Russia In 2018, Qatar In 2022
11 a.m. ET: Now that we know Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will be the site of the 2022 tournament, it's time to ask why those nations' bids won.
England was a finalist for the 2018 Cup, and the BBC writes that:
"The final stages of the race have been marked by allegations of corruption and collusion that led to a backlash against the British media among some FIFA executives. The England team went into today's vote believing they had secured enough votes to make it through the first round and could see ' a path to victory.' Instead, Russia -- the long time favorites backed by (FIFA President Sepp) Blatter -- won the race with their pitch to open up new markets."
Of the 2022 finalists, which included the U.S., ESPN.com says that:
"Qatar, the smallest nation to host the World Cup, used its 30-minute presentation to underline how the tournament could unify a region ravaged by conflict. Presenters also promised to overcome summer heat of up to 130 degrees by air conditioning outdoor stadiums it will build, then dismantle and give to needy nations."
10:45 a.m. ET: Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup games, FIFA President Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter just announced in Zurich.
Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States were the other finalists for the honor.
10:38 a.m. ET: Russia has been named host nation for the 2018 World Cup tournament, FIFA President Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter just announced. There were four "finalists" for the honor. The Netherlands and Belgium submitted a joint bid, as did Spain and Portugal. The fourth was the United Kingdom.
In a moment, FIFA will announce the host nation for the 2022 games. The United States is among the final contenders for that year's games.
Would hosting the 2022 World Cup finally spark the long-awaited soccer "explosion" in the U.S.? ESPN.com's Leander Schaerlaeckens says no:
"The immensely popular late-1970s New York Cosmos didn't create a soccer boom. Nor did the U.S. hosting the World Cup in 1994, the U.S. winning the Women's World Cup in 1999 or the U.S. men's team reaching the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002. This summer, Landon Donovan & Co. electrified the nation before falling in the second round -- but nothing really has changed since."
If you're interested in how the World Cup bidding and voting process works when host nations are chosen, the BBC has an explainer here.
Our original post (which was updated a couple times) -- "In Zurich, 'Tension Is Mounting' As Time For World Cup News Nears":
We're less than an hour away from hearing which nations will get to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup soccer games, and the folks at FIFA say "the tension is mounting" in Zurich, where the football federation's leaders are meeting to consider the bids.
Now, we know that many of us here in the good old USA aren't all that keen on soccer (or football, as the rest of the world calls it). But World Cup games are arguably the most popular sporting events on Earth. And the nations competing to host them, which include the U.S. and its bid for the 2022 games, hope they'll bring tons of money to the host cities.
We'll try to pass on word of the winners as soon as possible after the announcements, which are supposed to be made around 10 a.m. ET. You can also follow the news at FIFA.com.
While we all wait, perhaps you'd like to look back at the Show Me Your Cleats! blog and its coverage of this year's World Cup in South Africa. Or, perhaps this soccer stuff is of no interest to you?
Update at 10:15 a.m. ET: FIFA has now turned on its live-stream of the announcement ceremony (right now there's sound of a crowd in the room, but no video).
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: The BBC says the "host city decisions (have been) slightly delayed." It's streaming coverage here. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.