This is an elaboration on a rant I started on Facebook:
Bullshit. Russia and Qatar were the least deserving of the tournament for a variety of reasons.
Lets start with the 2018 group:
- England: Invented the game and has the most popular domestic league in the world. They have all the necessary infrastructure ready to go, and a rabid fanbase.
- Spain/Portugal: Both traditional football powerhouses. Spain is also home to one of the best domestic leagues in the world, and who wouldn’t want to spend a month in summer on the Iberian Peninsula watching football?
- Netherlands/Belgium: Netherlands is the best nation to have never won a World Cup and has never hosted. To add insult to injury, two of their three runner-ups were essentially road games to Germany in ’74 and Argentina in ’78. Belgium doesn’t really add much to this ticket (in fact, it probably did more harm than good), but they’ve had a World Cup co-hosted before, so it couldn’t have been that problematic.
- Russia: Didn’t qualify for this year’s World Cup after being eliminated by Slovenia, and lacks pretty much all of the major infrastructure provided in the other three bids. And if you think you’re depressed now, just wait until you’re in Russia when your team loses.
- USA: Sport has ballooned in popularity since 1994, and would offer FIFA the most ticket sales and return on investment of any country. North America still offers a huge area of growth for the sport, with many Central American and Caribbean nations focused mainly on baseball.
- Australia: No one loves sports like the Aussies, it would have been a great host.
- Korea and Japan: Both probably hosted too recently to really deserve a fair shake, but of all the Asian nations, these are easily the most deserving (and both have no difficulty qualifying).
- Qatar: Has never QUALIFIED for a World Cup (and now gets an automatic bid), smallest nation ever to host, and currently ranked #118 in the world (As a reference North Korea was ranked in the 70s when they were trounced 7-0 by Portugal in this year’s tourney). Oh, and it’s going to be hot enough to fry an egg on the hood of a car. Allegedly they’ll have air conditioned stadiums, but what are you going to do between the hotel and the stadium. You know, besides trying to prevent heat stroke and instantaneous combustion.
…OK, end of rant.