After a thesis on the history of soccer by the inimitable Sepp Blatter, we finally have our results.
Hosting the 2018 World Cup: Russia.
Hosting the 2022 World Cup: Qatar.
Unsurprisingly, I was hoping England would win the 2018 bid, and my second choice was Spain/Portugal since I'd much rather visit there than I would Russia. It's disappointing that England didn't get the hosting rights, but not too much of a surprise considering the way the bidding process works combined with the hilariously arrogant actions of the bid teams (and the sting operations conducted by the media). I'm sure eight years will be long enough for Russia to funnel enough money from social projects to stadium building. Rumours that they'll be holding the finals at Stamford Bridge remain unconfirmed.
Qatar beat out the United States, Japan, Korea, and Australia to win the bidding for 2022. This comes as a shock to people who expected a history of football and/or population to prevail, but that's not how FIFA works. Essentially, the bidding revolves around money for the delegates and an opportunity to pad Sep Blatter's chances of a Nobel Peace Prize, and getting a good tournament in the Middle East would be just perfect for both of those things. Plus their bid actually did look pretty cool (mainly because I am an architecture junkie). The United States will be rightly disappointed to have missed out, but I'm sure they're in line for a strong bid in the 30s or 40s, just like England.
Whatevers. Commence rampant xenophobia, if that's your sort of thing.