Russia 2018 and Qatar 2020.
England's overwhelmingly rejected World Cup bid met with a justifiable anger. The bid was exceptional, meeting every measurable criteria for selection. But if a host nation was always chosen on measurable terms, the selection process would have a damaging effect on future World Cups.
The charts highlight patterns of World Cup host nations by continent through 2022, which correspond to FIFA’s designated confederations. The international political environment, and FIFA’s personalities, relationships, and structures influence the host selection process, but are too complicated to be shown with little colored squares. Only the general trend of global expansion can be represented, which began intermittently and now has become a guiding principle and mission.
FIFA’s selection process and the secret and/or corrupt machinations are guided by this principle. There is nothing inherently corrupt in the principle of expansion until there is corruption in its application. Expansion only provides new avenues and perhaps more possibilities for the process to go astray.
The expansion of host nations has accelerated as the orange squares show. Eventually continental expansion will end with the Oceana Football Confederation (OFC) and give way to regional or interior expansion. The continent as the primary geographical category will give way. In the case of Russia 2018, Europe is now partitioned into a distinct eastern region. In the case of Qatar 2022, the Middle east emerges as a region distinct from Asia. The future geographical dynamics are already in place.
Mexico 1970 can be considered the first expansion of the World Cup host nation. Mexico 1986, the next time the World Cup was helped outside Europe or South America, can’t be considered an expansion. In these terms, U.S. 1994 is not a continental, but regional expansion, arguably the first when also taking into consideration that this was a cultural expansion.