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Which cities to host 2026 World Cup in USA, Mexico, Canada?

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With the U.S., Mexico and Canada to announce a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup on Monday at 2 p.m. ET, many people have many questions.

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The fact that all three of the countries involved could conceivably host the tournament on their own (especially the U.S.) has many questioning  why a trio of hosts is needed, yet the prospect of a tournament being hosted across an entire continent is an exciting idea and something UEFA is indeed doing for EURO 2020.

So, let’s take a look at how a 48-team World Cup could be hosted across the U.S., Mexico and Canada with a minimum of 16 host stadiums needed if you take into account that there are currently 12 host stadiums for 32-team World Cups to date.

UPDATE: With the announcement that the U.S. will host 60 of the 80 games in the tournament, I’m thinking 10 host cities in the U.S. and three each in Mexico and Canada. No doubt that number may changes in the months and years ahead, but for now it seems like just three venues in each of Mexico and Canada will be enough.

The most intriguing nature of this idea, for me at least, is the fact that cities close together on the US-Canadian border and the US-Mexican border can be linked together and group games can be played in two countries, giving a real international and unique vibe to proceedings.

Here’s a breakdown at the best options in each country to host World Cup games, with a few notable mentions as the U.S. has so many great cities and venues to choose from.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


USA

New York City – MetLife Stadium is the obvious choice here with NYC also an outsider to host any potential World Cup final.
Chicago – Solider Field hosted World Cup games in 1994 and should be the venue once again for America’s third city.
LA – Plenty of options here with new stadiums being built. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena has a rich soccer history, but the new NFL stadium for the Rams could be an option.
Houston – Mexico and the U.S. have always got huge crowds for international games in Houston and NRG Stadium would be the perfect venue, especially as it’s just a four-hour drive from the Mexican border.
Seattle – One of the strongest soccer fanbases in the U.S. is certainly deserving of World Cup matches at CenturyLink Field. Not the biggest city in the U.S. but with its proximity to Portland and the Canadian border with Vancouver the Pacific Northwest could become a hub for group games.
Orlando – This would complete a very even spread of stadiums and would give soccer fans in the Southeast a chance to watch the games. Hosting them at Camping World Stadium would be easy.
Atlanta – The new Mercedes Benz stadium was built for tournaments like this. Atlanta is a growing soccer city with a new MLS franchise and given its status as a huge transport hub, ATL seems nailed on to be a host city.
Washington D.C. – Having the U.S. capital on board will be key for many reasons and having FedEx Field available it’s a no-brainer.
San Francisco – The home of 49ers in Santa Clara has hosted plenty of big games in the Copa America Centeratio and the International Champions Cup and the Bay Area would be a brilliant host region for World Cup games.
Boston – Gillette Stadium (then known a Foxboro Stadium) hosted World Cup games in 1994 and with New England being a passionate soccer region this makes total sense.

Other notables: Philadelphia, Denver, San Diego, Michigan (The Big House), Miami, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Dallas


Mexico

Mexico City – Azteca Stadium would undoubtedly be a worthy venue to host the World Cup final given that it’s done so twice in the past.
Guadalajara – Estadio Chivas the obvious choice here and a city rich in soccer heritage would be a gem in Mexico’s bid. Surely nailed on.
Tijuana – Its close proximity to the U.S. border and San Diego would again give teams the chance to get a flavor of both the U.S. and Mexico perhaps during the same group.

Maybes…

Puebla – Puebla’s Estadio Cuauhtemoc home would be a fine World Cup venue and with it being close to Mexico City, Puebla is easily accessible.
Leon
– Estadio Leon would need an upgrade but Leon’s proximity to Mexico City means that it would once again be easy to travel to and from Mexico’s capital.
Monterrey – The sparkling Estadio BBVA Bancomer should be in line to be one of the host venues, plus Monterrey being a quick flight away from Texas could mean group games played in the U.S. and Mexico.

Other notables: Mexico City (Estadio Olimpico Universitario) Guadalajara (Jalisco Stadium), Toluca, Pachuca, Queretaro


Canada

Toronto – Capable of hosting huge sporting events, Canada’s largest city would almost certainly be a host of group games and knockout matches. BMO Field to be expanded?
Vancouver – After doing a wonderful job in hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, BC Place is the front-runner and Vancouver makes tons of sense as it’s on the border with the U.S.
Montreal – A hub of culture and sport, Montreal makes plenty of sense and hosted the Olympic games and has a rich soccer culture.

Other notables: Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton

Mario Balotelli signs new Nice contract

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Italian striker Mario Balotelli has found himself the owner of a new contract after a successful season in Ligue 1 with French club OGC Nice.

Balotelli’s one-year deal was set to expire at the end of June, but he found a career revival in what many believed would be his last chance in major European soccer. The club officially announced his new contract on Sunday, and while they did not release the length of the deal, they confirmed that Balotelli turned down deals from other clubs to stay in France.

The 26-year-old scored 15 goals in 23 league appearances last year, helping Nice to a fabulous third-place finish in Ligue 1, earning them a Champions League playoff spot.

For a player who saw trouble follow him wherever he went, the only trouble he faced last season at Nice was an erratic bout with injury issues including calf and adductor problems. However, the spells on the sidelines didn’t douse Balotelli’s form. The Italian had an incredible start and finish to the season, scoring six goals in his first five appearances of the season and bagging six goals in the last eight games of the year.

The official release by Nice said that Balotelli made “considerable financial sacrifices and chose the sporting aspect with his heart” in re-signing with the French club.

Morris, Acosta, Roldan highlight USA 23-man Gold Cup roster

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Bruce Arena has released his 23-man roster for the group stage of the 2017 Gold Cup, and it appears heavily experimental as expected, with 16 players MLS based.

The experience comes in spurts, with Brad Guzan paired with the less experienced Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid among the goalkeepers. Along the back line, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Jorge Villafana all make their way from the World Cup qualifiers to the Gold Cup, joined by Chelsea youngster Matt Miazga and Toronto FC’s Justin Morrow.

In midfield, Kellyn Acosta gets additional international time after positive showings in the most recent World Cup qualifiers. Dax McCarty returns to the national team along with Alejandro Bedoya, while bright 22-year-old Seattle Sounders playmaker Cristian Roldan also makes the squad. In addition, New England Revolution winger Kelyn Rowe and left-sided Kenny Saief could be set for national team debuts. Saief has appeared twice for Israel but has yet to be cap-tied by playing in a competitive match for any country and recently had his one-time switch approved.

Jordan Morris leads the way along the front line, along with 24-year-old Juan Agudelo who has not played a competitive minute for the United States since the 2011 Gold Cup. Dom Dwyer also appears, with the 26-year-old striker also hoping for an international debut. Gyasi Zardes shows up as a midfielder, but provides the United States with another versatile attacker who could play up front.

The United States will take on Panama, Martinique, and Nicaragua in the group stage of the Gold Cup, and once that is complete, Bruce Arena will be able to make changes to the roster should the United States advance as expected. At that time, Arena can swap in up to six players who appeared on the initial 40-man roster, including more experienced players like Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, Darlington Nagbe, Jozy Altidore, and Clint Dempsey.

Another name who could see time in the Gold Cup knockout round would be goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, who does not appear on the initial 25-man roster as his one-time switch paperwork has yet to be cleared by FIFA according to a number of reports. If that happens in time, he can play for the United States. The 22-year-old FC Dallas goalkeeper has played for the Mexico youth setup but has not been cap-tied by either country. After making the 40-man roster, Gonzalez confirmed he would play for the United States should he be called up. However, should he complete the one-time switch, Gonzalez wouldn’t need to be cap-tied, as completing the paperwork is enough to leave him no choice but to play for the United States.

Finally, Christian Pulisic does not appear on the 25-man roster as expected, after Bruce Arena admitted the Borussia Dortmund youngster was unlikely to play for the United States in the Gold Cup. Arena admitted getting rest and then meeting up with his club for preseason was more important for the 18-year-old than playing in the summer international tournament.

Players are set to report to training in Nashville today, with a warm-up match against Ghana scheduled for Saturday in Connecticut before Gold Cup play starts on July 8.

ROSTER

GKs: Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid.

DEFs: Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Justin Morrow, Jorge Villafaña, Graham Zusi.

MFs: Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona, Dax McCarty, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Kenny Saief, Gyasi Zardes.

FWDs: Jordan Morris, Juan Agudelo, Dom Dwyer.

Chile 1-1 Australia: Chile moves on despite Aussie show

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Australia looked the better side for good stretches of the match, and while it wasn’t enough to earn a semifinal place, the Asian champions will go home with a hard-earned point against a top South American team in Moscow. Had it not been for a pair of ugly misses in front of net, the Australians may have had a chance to advance. Alas, an equalizer by Martin Rodriguez was enough to cancel out Massimo Luongo‘s opener and send Chile through.

With Chile holding all the meaningful possession through the first half-hour, their best chance came in the 27th minute. Alexis Sanchez controlled a long ball from Eugenio Mena and was free on goal. While trying to settle and shoot, he was dispossessed from behind by Mark Milligan who recovered brilliantly. Sanchez went to ground, and after no initial call, VAR took a look and determined there was no reason to award Chile a penalty.

[ MORE: Germany eases by Cameroon 3-1 ]

Australia refused to be intimidated by their opponents’ stature. In the 36th minute, James Troisi lofted a brilliant ball for Luongo who had made a scything run into the box. Luongo slid to redirect the ball on net, only stopped by a charging Claudio Bravo.

That was a harbinger of what would come six minutes later. A shot by Robbie Kruse from just inside the top of the box clipped off a defender as he let loose, and the deflection sent the ball straight to Troisi who was free at the far post. With Bravo closing, the Melbourne Victory attacker looped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net for a shock lead.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

The game opened up from there, and both sides had a chance on net before halftime. Arturo Vidal headed from close range, but it was blocked by a defender out for a corner. Down the other end, somehow three Australia attackers worked free on a failed offside trap, but Trent Sainsbury embarrassingly skied it well over the bar with nobody there to challenge.

After the break, it was more of the same as Australia proved dangerous, forcing Bravo into a number of saves. However, it would be Chile to score next and level the score. Past the half-hour mark, Australia failed to clear, and Eduardo Vargas headed back in front of net where Rodriguez was there to touch it in. Chile nearly took the lead moments later, but Vargas headed just wide after great work by Sanchez.

Australia had another golden opportunity to take back the lead, but when Troisi’s pinpoint ball to the far post found substitute Jamie Maclaren, the Brisbane Roar striker flubbed the huge chance, scuffing his first-time attempt, sending the ball skittering well wide. Chile’s point saw them through into the semifinals, where they take on Portugal. Australia’s two points were not enough to keep them in contention.

Germany 3-1 Cameroon: Germany cruises to Group B win

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The favorites in Group B completed the task as they topped 10-man Cameroon 3-1 in Sochi behind strikes from first-time international goalscorers Kerim Demirbay and Timo Werner.

Germany had a few decent opportunities early, but the best came on 20 minutes as Emre Can opened a bit of space to his right and ripped off a shot from outside the top of the box that skittered just wide.

[ MORE: Bright Australia performance earns 1-1 draw with Chile ]

The favorites held much of the meaningful possession, but had few truly solid chances. Cameroon was pesky down the other end, with a chance for Christian Bassogog that slipped away after a poor touch, and a dangerous free-kick from the left that somehow evaded all attackers in the box.

They had the best chance of the first half just before the whistle as a cross from Ernst Mabouka was misjudged by Josh Kimmich and fell to Andre Zambo Anguissa who hit it on one hop in an effort to chip Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the German goalkeeper produced an acrobatic tip over the bar.

Straight out of the break, Germany took the lead on the moment they were waiting for and doomed Cameroon to a trip home. Julian Draxler fed Kerim Demirbay with a sumptuous bit of skill, and as nobody closed down the Hoffenheim attacker, he let loose an absolutely vicious strike that found the top corner for a 1-0 lead and his first international goal.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Die Mannschaft nearly had a second minutes later as Timo Werner was clean through, but his poke was clipped by goalkeeper Joseph Ondoa and Kimmich’s follow-up was also saved as Ondoa recovered.

Things would get worse for Cameroon as Mabouka was sent off for a high boot foul on Emre Can. Initially the referee showed Mabouka a yellow card, but after a review changed the decision to a straight red. Immediately after going a man up, Germany bagged their second as Kimmich crossed into the box for Werner who was wide open and opted to use his head for his first international goal and a 2-0 lead.

Cameroon earned a consolation in the 78th minute as ter Stegen failed to aggressively take a cross by substitute Nicolas Ngamelu, and Vincent Aboubakar attacked it instead, glancing a header off the goalkeeper’s hands and into the back of the net for an own-goal.

Werner got his second with 9 minutes left on a cut-back from Benjamin Henrichs, and that put things to bed. The three points sent Germany to the summit of Group B, enough to top Chile after their draw with Australia. The Germans will take on Mexico in Sochi in the semifinals.