Houston city leaders, members of the Dynamo organization and soccer fans gathered at a bunting-filled room at the George R. Brown Convention Center this morning to hear the international announcement of which countries will be hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The announcement was broadcast live from Zurich, Switzerland.
At about 9:30 a.m., the announcement came in: Qatar, not the United States, will host the 2022 World Cup. Russia will host the 2018 World Cup.
Before the announcement, FIFA president Sepp Blatter offered these words of condolence: "In football, we learn to win, and that is easy. But we also learn to lose, and that is not so easy." He then took his sweet-ass time opening the first envelope. After the announcement, the talking heads on Fox Sports blamed the loss on oil interests and quid pro quo with the Middle East. Of course they did. It is Fox, after all.
Houston, whose Dynamo have won two Major League Soccer titles since their founding five years ago, has lobbied hard to prove that Reliant Stadium, home of the 2004 Super Bowl, would be a good venue for the most popular sporting event in the world. Following the reveal, the disappointment in the room was palatable.
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The kicker? Host cities in the winning countries won't even be announced until much later in the planning process.