American soccer fans are on edge as FIFA prepares to announce on Thursday which country will host the 2022 World Cup. The U.S. is considered a strong contender, and most agree the country could do a fine job, having successfully hosted the tournament in 1994. But the favorite is the small Middle Eastern emirate of Qatar. Australia, South Korea, and Japan are also in the running. Who deserves the Cup most? (Watch the Arsenal coach push for England)
A victory for the U.S. would be a victory for soccer: Qatar's bid is strong, says Jeff Rusnak in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, given the "nine new, air-conditioned stadiums" it has promised to build. But giving hosting duties to the U.S. would mean a brighter, more lucrative future for soccer, thanks to big-money TV and sponsorship deals. "The U.S. has long been soccer's last frontier." Hosting another World Cup "might close the deal."
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But a Qatar Cup could be a victory for the world: Giving the World Cup to Qatar would "forge fresh, enhanced understanding with the Arab world," says Louise Taylor in Britain's Guardian. It would give the West a fresh perspective on the Muslim mindset, and could even serve as "a highly effective slap in the face of extremism."
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Wait, don't forget Australia—again: Hold on—Australia's "chances are very good," says Alex Tobin in the Sydney Morning Herald. After hosting the Olympics in 2000, we've got "terrific infrastructure," and we're a great place to come on vacation. Another thing that might "give us an edge over the United States" is good old-fashioned fair play. "They've had it. We haven't."
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