But Morocco, bidding for a fifth time, had closed the gap on "United 2026" to the point that nobody in Moscow wanted to make a public prediction ahead of the vote at the FIFA Congress, where 207 member associations, minus the four bidding nations, cast ballots.
By no means does the award of 2026 take away that grief, nor should it, but what the positive vote does offer the US and its North American mates is an exciting beginning to a new era.
"Hosting a FIFA World Cup™ is an extraordinary honor and privilege", said Steven Reed, President of Canada Soccer and Co-Chair of the United Bid. That's the spirit of the World Cup, the attractive game transcends borders and cultures.
"Football is the only victor", US Soccer boss Carlos Cordeiro said, according to BBC.
Morocco, which has now lost five bid campaigns, was classy in defeat - congratulating the North American winners. There was one abstention.
Several members of that committee were later banned from the sport after they were caught up in the corruption scandal that engulfed world football's governing body in 2015.
A film promised natural grass on every pitch at "iconic" and "state-of-the art" stadiums already built, a sly dig at Morocco, whose stadium infrastructure is far from complete. The north African nation would have to build numerous stadiums required for the event.
The event has since been moved to November to avoid Qatar's blistering summer temperatures, bribery accusations abound, and potential human rights violations at the stadium sites have caused outrage from the global community.
American soccer officials downplayed the influence of politics on the bid.
The 2026 World Cup will expand to 48 teams from 32, and will feature a new format of 16 round-robin groups of three teams with the top two from each pool advancing to a 32-nation knockout round.
In 2010, the US was a finalist to host the 2020 World Cup but lost to Qatar in a vote that was later discredited - but not reversed - because of widespread corruption in FIFA's ranks. It will be the first time since 1994 that the USA will have hosted the monthlong soccer extravaganza, and will come two years before Los Angeles welcomes back the 2028 Summer Olympics.
FIFA's World Cup soccer is coming to Canada, but Vancouver is not among the host cities after B.C. backed out of the bid for the games earlier this year.
Typically, the host nation gets an automatic berth in the World Cup.
Brazil's Pele is the only player to win three World Cups: in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Canada qualified once, in 1986. The U.S. failed to qualify in 2018.
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