For the first time since way back in 2006, a European country will host the world cup...sigh...how young we were.
After 12 long years full of culture, and geopolitical significance the pasty will get the chance to host again. (I know I shouldn't make fun. Europe is the loyal market, they are the only viable club market, they are the most financially stable and historically triumphant region at the World Cup, and by god if it's in Europe all the other Europeans will buy tickets and then everybody makes money! And really, isn't that the goal of the World Cup?........I'm sorry, did you just say that the goal was to crown the best football playing nation in the world?........No.....No....I'm pretty sure that it's a global celebration of Coca-cola and fine coca-cola products!)
Anyway Russia gets the honor of hosting the World Cup after besting a trio of other bidders. Including the artsy fartsy bid from The Netherlands and Belgium (which never seemed like a winner), the super sexy fun-time bid of Spain and Portugal (which finished second with half the votes of Russia) and the long time front runners in England. The campaign was pockmarked with scandalous accusations, including an insinuation that the Russians "took care" of a Nigerian official who was later banned (I don't know why that seemed so inflammatory, I'd love Vladmir Putin to bring me a bowl of soup). But since the Russians denied the claim and the British press made it, FIFA attributed the whole thing to stupid lousy jealousy/journalistic freedom and taught the Brits a lesson by making them the biggest losers of the whole thing--getting only two votes before being unceremoniously dumped after just one round of voting. But seriously, we probably could have seen this coming when he said: "if Russia bids, you can't deny them anything"...and with Putin in charge...seriously, who would?
If you want to see our take on the Russian bid before it got all cool and popular like Click Here and if you want updates, keep checking back here for news and notes about what exactly the Russians plan on doing now that we're all going to be on their turf for a month (anyone for Borscht on a stick?)
Clearly Russia was most effective because it has a tremendous ability to establish a new center of football in the world. Even though the child who leads the next generation of Russian footballers seems to have parents who don't mind if he imperils his whole life as long as he also wins the World Cup (and also a very posh woman who doesn't mind being surrounded by gigantic floating letters).
We've kicked off qualification in Asia and will soon do the same in North America. Keep checking back at the Montanan Hooligans to find out how it goes and who's going on.