NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Soccer fan Anil Shahi (R) and others watch the U.S. vs. England World Cup match beneath the Manhattan Bridge June 12, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Soccer fans around the world are cheering for their home countries on the second day of World Cup action. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

USA Officially Pulls 2018 World Cup Bid To Focus On 2022

U.S. switches focus to 2022 bid where it will be competing with a handful of nations from the Asian federation.

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USA Officially Pulls 2018 World Cup Bid, England Now Frontrunner

In a bit of news that should come as a surprise to no one, the United States pulled its bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will instead focus on the 2022 bid.

That would seem to leave England as the frontrunners for '18 tournament, although Spain/Portugal, Russia and Belgium/Netherlands are still officially in the running.

With all four of those bids coming out of UEFA, that leaves the U.S. competing with several members of the Asian Federation, all of which seem to have significant flaws.

  • Qatar: Of all the countries still bidding for '22, this is the one that has received the most buzz. The oil-rich nation has shared designs for gorgeous stadiums that, if built, would represent some of the most beautiful sporting arenas in the world. It would also mark the first time the World Cup has been played in a Muslim nation. Of course, none of those stadiums are completed and the nation does not exactly have an exemplary history of human rights.
  • Australia: The 2000 Summer Olympics set the standard for a worldwide sporting event and the continent is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Most of the stadiums they intend to use already exist, although just two of them don't require major upgrades. There's also the problem that most of the stadiums have tenants in other sports whose seasons overlap with the World Cup and those teams have not exactly been agreeable to moving. 
  • Japan: Like Qatar, the Japanese bid is full of high-tech bells and whistles. The biggest problem with their bid may end up being that they just co-hosted the tournament in 2002.
  • Korea: This is officially a South Korean bid, but the federation has said that North Korea would also be involved if they won the rights to host. Like Japan, it's hard to see them getting the tournament because of their co-hosting it in 2002.

That seems to leave the United States as the frontrunner for 2022. Not only is the U.S. capable of hosting the tournament tomorrow, but a tournament here is almost guaranteed to break attendance records. The biggest knock against the U.S. bid would be ... what exactly? Politics obviously plays a part in any successful bid, but on its merits the U.S. bid doesn't have any glaring holes.

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