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Spain to host World Cup 2030: What other countries will host matches?

Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu will almost certainly see World Cup soccer, along with stadiums in no fewer than five other countries.

Madrid-Santiago Benabéu

World Cup soccer is set to take place in Spain for the first time since 1982, it has been decided at a virtual meeting of the FIFA Council. However, they will not be going it alone, with soccer’s biggest international tournament to be played on more than one continent for the first time in its history in 2030.

For anyone who has been following the bidding process, that will perhaps not come as a huge surprise given Morocco joined the initial bid put forward by Iberian neighbours Spain and Portugal. What few of us saw coming, however, was that some matches would be played in…South America.

How many World Cups have been held in more than one country?

Traditionally, the World Cup has always been held in one country, which was the case for the first 16 editions up until 2002, when Japan and South Korea shared hosting duties. The five subsequent tournaments were also one-nation affairs but the upcoming expansion from 32 to 48 teams mean multiple hosts are likely to be the way forward. In 2026, of course, the World Cup will return to the United States for the first time in 32 years, although Mexico and Canada will also be hosting.

Morocco, Portugal and Spain the main 2030 World Cup hosts

The FIFA Council “unanimously agreed that the sole candidacy will be the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, which will host the event in 2030″, seemingly fighting off competition from a joint Uruguay-Argentina-Chile-Paraguay bid, which had been the romantics’ choice given the first tournament was played in Uruguay 100 years earlier.

Centenary celebration to take place in Uruguay, Argentina and Portugal

While FIFA ultimately opted not to go down that route, president Gianno Infantino has shown world soccer’s governing body does have a sentimental side. “”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. As a result, a celebration will take place in South America and three South American countries - Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay - will organise one match each of the FIFA World Cup 2030. The first of these three matches will of course be played at the stadium where it all began, in Montevideo’s mythical Estádio Centenário, precisely to celebrate the centenary edition of the FIFA World Cup.”

Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will therefore open the event, hosting one match each, before the rest of the tournament plays out in Southwest Europe and North Africa.