Argentine Ref To Officiate World Cup Opening Game

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Argentina's Nestor Pitana will referee the opening World Cup match on Thursday when hosts Russian Federation play Saudi Arabia, FIFA has announced.

Of the 16 host cities, 10 will be in the United States while the remainder will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico.

The "United Bid" had been favourites from the start but Morocco's promise of a "European World Cup in Africa" was appealing to the committee.

"Canada, Mexico, and the United States are ready to welcome the world to North America and serve as stewards of the largest FIFA World Cup in history".

FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola finished in Moscow after a Tour across Russia and the globe just a few days before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ kicks off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

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All three hosts should get automatic places in the lineup, and each host a game on opening day.

Morocco have now failed with five bids to hold the World Cup and are unlikely now to have the financial means to put together another bid for the foreseeable future.

The joint bid had been the front-runner for the 48-team tournament from the moment a North American coalition was first mooted two years ago, and there have been spells when it has looked like the only credible candidate.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986, the US hosted in 1994. The U.S. will host 60 of the 80 matches, including the final, scheduled for MetLife Stadium outside New York City.

The Switzerland-based organization reports its revenue in four-year cycles, and most recently claimed $5.7 billion for the cycle culminating in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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Eight years ago, the USA was in a similar position, when it bid for the 2022 tournament.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986.

CONCACAF, whose president - Canadian Victor Montagliani - played a key role in the bid, called the vote a "monumental victory" for the confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Of the 211 Fifa member nations, 200 cast a vote at the 68th Fifa Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, with the winning bid needing a majority of 104. Citing a number of high-profile sponsors dropping FIFA, London newspaper The Independent reported that FIFA's 2018 World Cup sponsorship revenues were down $240 million.

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