Prince William and David Beckham weren't enough to persuade the FIFA executive committee to select England as the host of the World Cup. That honor will go to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. The choice of Qatar surprised many. The tiny nation is smaller than most U.S. states and often has temperatures that jump over 100 degrees. But as we first reported back in 2008, the nation has already been hard at work on open-air, air-conditioned stadium plans. Qatar's presentation focused on how the tournament would be a unifying force in the region. "Thank you for believing in change, thank you for believing in expanding the game, thank you for giving Qatar a chance," said Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar's bid chairman. "We will not let you down. You will be proud of us, you will be proud of the Middle East and I promise you this." The picture above shows FIFA President Joseph Blatter with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
Russia was announced as host of the 2018 tournament over England and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium. It was a big blow for England's fierce soccer fans whose country has not hosted the World Cup since winning it for the only time in 1966. Former President Bill Clinton was on hand to plead the case for choosing the U.S. as a destination. Brazil will be the host of the 2014 World Cup. The World Cup was played in the United States for the first time in 1994 but will have to wait until at least 2026. By choosing Qatar, FIFA also excluded a 2026 bid from China because the same continent cannot host consecutive World Cups. Earlier this year it was reported that the World Cup in South Africa helped FIFA's revenues pass the billion dollar mark for the first time.