Opinion | The United States is here to save the World Cup in 2026. You’re welcome, world.


Will Leitch, the author of the novels”How lucky” and the next “The time has come,” is a contributing editor for New York magazine and founder of the sports website Deadspin.

It should not be taken as an insult to the incredible athletes we have been watching over the last month to admit that this has been the worst men’s World Cup in living memory.

It’s not the games themselves, which have featured impressive performances, heartwarming underdogs, and riveting storylines culminating in Sunday’s titan vs. titan final of France-Argentina – it’s impossible not to be sucked into each match.

But everything surrounding this World Cup has been a disaster, from the Qatari government’s human rights abuses (and Fox Sports’ relentless hauling of water for the regime) to the stifling of political speech, the schedule of compressed games and the simple fact that it is almost impossible for the average football hooligan to buy a beer there.

Even the timing of this World Cup has been a mistake. Because Qatar is so hot in the summer, and because the organizers couldn’t deliver the air-conditioned stadiums they promised when FIFA gave Qatar the World Cup in 2010, the 2022 World Cup had to be moved. to November, when the sports calendar is jam-packed with competing options and everyone is desperately trying to get their Christmas shopping done. Having the World Cup in November is like having the Super Bowl in May or the World Series in a dome. It feels like a violation of the natural order.

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All this was the result of the calamitous and completely corrupt FIFA’s decision to have the men’s World Cup in Qatar first. While that decision provided the desired effect (putting millions of dollars into the pockets of FIFA officials), it is undeniable that the soccer world will be eager to put this train wreck of a World Cup in the rearview mirror as soon as possible. fast as possible and move on. to more normal World Cups in the future. And guess where the next World Cup is? That’s right: North America is about to be a part of the biggest rebound relationship since Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

The 2026 Men’s World Cup will be hosted by the United States (11 venues), Mexico (three) and Canada (two) and, like an office ousting a nasty and abusive boss and replacing him with a normal human being, we are about to look like heroes.

Almost everything Qatar got wrong will be fixed in the 2026 World Cup. The stadiums where the games will be played are not being built just for the World Cup, allowing for existing infrastructure with experience in hosting large-scale events. The tournament will take place in June and July again, which will not affect the major European leagues as this tournament has. Field will grow from 32 to 48 teamswhich could cause some competitive problems but it certainly widens the canvas, with more countries involved and soccer powerhouses like Italy and Colombia less likely to be left out this time. And while no one would argue that North America is a utopian land where there are no systemic injustices or human rights abuses, at least no one is going to be scolded for wearing a rainbow T-shirt in press line.

Oh, and you can also drink beer! So much beer!

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For decades, at least since the 1994 Men’s World Cup kicked off a soccer boom in the United States, soccer fans in this country have been looking forward to the time when the United States truly announces itself on the world stage in the men’s tournament (The two-time defending champion USA, despite some recent setbacks, still rules their sport and is expected to continue to do so at next summer’s Women’s World Cup.) And there may be no better opportunity than the 2026 tournament, when the bitter taste of the World Cup in Qatar will finally be gone, and we will all be ready for a simple, no-strings-attached event, let’s all enjoy the biggest sporting event in the world. world. world cup world cup

It will also help that the United States has a much-improved team for 2026. The second-youngest team in the 2022 tournament should be in their prime, in front of their home country fans. It may well be the crowning moment for US men’s soccer.

The saddest part of any World Cup is when it ends, when you realize you have to wait four long years for the next one. But, thanks to the irregularities of this World Cup, you don’t even have to put up with that much this time: there are only 3½ years left until June 8, 2026, when the opening match of the 2026 World Cup will be played, which, I repeat , will not take place in Qatar — begins.

Gratitude from the rest of the world is not something Americans have experienced much of this century. But in 2026, the world will be thankful for us and our World Cup. And not just for the beer. Although the beer does not hurt.

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