Six Countries In Three Continents To HOST Matches In The 2030 World Cup, While Saudi Arabia Set To Bid For 2034.

The international football governing body (FIFA), has announced that the 2030 World Cup will be hosted by Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, with the first three matches taking place in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay to mark the World Cup centenary "100-year" anniversary of the tournament.

The decision, announced on Wednesday, means the World Cup will be held in six different countries across three continents.

This decision is set to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year.

It will be 100 years since the inaugural tournament in Montevideo in Uruguay, the city which hosted the first World Cup match in 1930, is poised to stage the opening game in 2030.

La Celeste lifted the trophy that year and also triumphed in 1950, famously beating rivals Brazil in the final.

Matches in the other South America countries like Argentina and Paraguay to follow, before the 48-team tournament moves to North Africa and Europe. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "In a divided world, Fifa and football are uniting.

"The FIFA Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the Fifa World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.

"The Council also agreed that the only bid to host the 2030 World Cup will be the joint bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain. 

"Two continents — Africa and Europe — united not only in a celebration of football but also in providing unique social and cultural cohesion. What a great message of peace, tolerance and inclusion.

"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."

Morocco would become only the second African nation to host a World Cup, after the historic edition in South Africa 2010.

Spain had been earlier named as joint-host, they last hosted the World Cup in 1982, with Italy winning the tournament for the third time.

Portugal on the other hand, has never hosted the tournament, but Euro 2004 was held there.

As in previous World Cups, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Portugal and Morocco will all qualify automatically as co-hosts. 

FIFA also confirmed only bids from countries from the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation will be considered for the 2034 finals, as United States, Canada and Mexico are the next joint-hosts of the 2026 World Cup.

Following that decision, it would pave the way for Saudi Arabia, who were reportedly keen on bidding for 2030, but will now have the chance to host the tournament in 2034 for the first time.

New Zealand and Australia may also come into consideration, having successfully hosted the just concluded Women's World Cup tournament during the summer.

The 2026 World Cup will have 104 matches instead of the typical 64 games due to its expanded format.

The tournament due to take place in North America will be the first edition of the quadrennial tournament, as it expands from 32 to 48 teams. It will consist of 12 groups of four teams each, a change from the original planned format of 16 groups of three.

The confirmed format means the top two nations in each group will go through to the knockout round along with the eight best third-placed sides.

As a result, the finalists and the teams finishing third and fourth will play a total of eight games instead of the current seven. 

There will be 16 host cities – 11 in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada. 

The last time either Mexico (in 1986) or the United States (in 1994) hosted a World Cup, there were only 24 teams.

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