The United States, Mexico and Canada will make history in 2026 when they co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The major sporting event is traditionally hosted by a single country, and the 2026 installment marks the first time three countries are sharing the hosting load.

But FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup tournament, made an announcement Wednesday that makes the 2026 World Cup seem a bit less impressive.

It unveiled that the 2030 FIFA World Cup will take place in six countries across three continents and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup.

“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents — Africa, Europe and South America — six countries — Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay — welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino in a statement, according to ESPN.

2030 World Cup host selection

If you think traveling between six countries for one soccer tournament sounds like a logistical nightmare, you’re not alone. FIFA won’t actually make players go between Europe, Africa and South America for the entirety of the 2023 World Cup.

Instead, the South American locations will only be involved in the opening round.

“Spain, Portugal and Morocco will co-host the tournament, while Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina will all stage an opening match each to mark 100 years since the first World Cup was staged. The 1930 tournament was hosted and won by Uruguay,” CNN reported.

Paraguay’s Soccer Association President Robert Harrison, left, FIFA delegate Ignacio Alonso, center, Conmebol President Alejandro Dominguez, third from left, and Conmebol Vice President Claudio Tapia hold the World Cup soccer tournament trophy in Luque, Paraguay, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. The press conference was to announce that some of the World Cup 2030 soccer tournament matches will be played in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay | Jorge Saenz, Associated Press

Still, FIFA’s grand plan for 2030 is facing significant pushback. In a statement, Football Supporters Europe, a large group of soccer fans, criticized FIFA for creating a situation in which tournament leaders, players and fans will have to travel across the globe and keep up with games in multiple time zones.

“FIFA continues its cycle of destruction against the greatest tournament on earth,” the statement said, according to ESPN. “Horrendous for supporters, disregards the environment and rolls the red carpet out to a host for 2034 with an appalling human rights record.”

The statement’s mention of 2034 is a nod to the fact that FIFA’s decision on 2030 opens the door to having Saudi Arabia host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, CNN reported.

Its article noted that the 2030 plan still needs to be formally approved at a meeting next year. “That should be just a formality,” according to CNN.

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When is the next men’s World Cup?

Plans have already been approved for the 2026 World Cup, which will make history in more than one way.

Beyond being the first World Cup to take place in three countries, it will also be the first to involve 48 teams and 104 total games.

Teams will be sorted into groups of four for the tournament’s opening rounds, as the Deseret News previously reported. Then, “the top two teams in each group and eight of the 12 third-place teams (advance) to the knockout round.”

The United States, Mexico and Canada will co-host the next World Cup, which will take place in June and July of 2026.

FIFA World Cup 2034 host country

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The 2030 FIFA World Cup in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Morocco, Portugal and Spain is also planned for June and July. But the next World Cup after that will likely take place much later in the year, like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“Saudi Arabia has targeted the 2034 edition and Australia also is interested after successfully co-hosting the Women’s World Cup this year with New Zealand. Either way, the 2034 tournament will almost certainly played in November and December,” CNN reported.

World Cup host countries in the past

The only time the World Cup was hosted by multiple countries in the past was when Japan and South Korea shared hosting duties in 2002, according to Sky Sports.

Here’s a look at all the countries that have hosted a World Cup in the past:

  • 1930: Uruguay.
  • 1934: Italy.
  • 1938: France.
  • 1950: Brazil.
  • 1954: Switzerland.
  • 1958: Sweden.
  • 1962: Chile.
  • 1966: England.
  • 1970: Mexico.
  • 1974: West Germany.
  • 1978: Argentina.
  • 1982: Spain.
  • 1986: Mexico.
  • 1990: Italy.
  • 1994: United States.
  • 1998: France.
  • 2002: Japan and South Korea.
  • 2006: Germany.
  • 2010: South Africa.
  • 2014: Brazil.
  • 2018: Russia.
  • 2022: Qatar.
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