World Cup begins with match between Russia, Saudi Arabia

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It marks the first time the World Cup will be held in more than one country since 2002, when South Korea and Japan shared hosting duties.

But Morocco, bidding for a fifth time, had closed the gap on "United 2026" to the point that nobody in Moscow wanted to make a public prediction ahead of the vote at the FIFA Congress, where 207 member associations, minus the four bidding nations, cast ballots.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off Thursday in Russian Federation, with a field of 32 teams from around the globe competing in a monthlong tournament that concludes July 15.

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Although it would be the first tournament to be hosted by three nations, the vast majority of games will be held in the US.

The last time the USA hosted the World Cup was in 1994, with Brazil winning the tournament at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

To do so would have invited ridicule when it needed to build or renovate the 14 stadiums it wants to use - a task FIFA's technical report said "cannot be overstated". American soccer officials downplayed the influence of politics on the bid. This came in response to an invitation from President Vladimir Putin.

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The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.

Canada has played host to numerous Federation Internationale de Football Association events in the past, including the men's Under-16 World Championship in 1982, the 2002 under-19 women's World Championship, the 2007 men's Under-20 World Cup, the 2014 Under-20 Women's World Cup and the 2015 Women's World Cup.

The United States is slated to stage 60 matches, including every game from the quarter-finals onwards.

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Mexico will host the matches in Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey. Under the terms of the bid, Canada and Mexico will each host 10 matches. Final logistical details such as host city selection and fixture scheduling will ultimately be settled by Federation Internationale de Football Association.

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