MOSCOW - United States, Mexico and Canada on Wednesday won the hosting rights for the FIFA World Cup 2026 after beating Morocco by 69 votes, bringing the tournament to North America for the first time since the 1994 event on a pledge of record crowds, revenues and $11billion in profits for FIFA.

Out of total 203 votes, the North American trio received 134 while Morocco could get 65 votes during the FIFA Congress held in Moscow on the eve of the 2018 World Cup. The FIFA World Cup will return to the North American continent for the first time since 1994, when the United States hosted the tournament. It will be the first World Cup to be expanded to 48 teams, posing an enormous logistical challenge for the hosts.

Speaking on the occasion, bid leader US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said his team was ‘humbled by the trust their colleagues in the FIFA family have put in their bid. “Thank you for the incredible privilege. Football today is the only victor. This tournament has an opportunity to put football on a new and sustainable path for generations to come,” he added.

It will be for the first time that the World Cup is hosted by three countries, but most of the matches will be played on the soil of United States. In total 80 matches of World Cup 2026, Canada and Mexico will host 10 matches each while huge 60 matches will be hosted by the United States, including the final to be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

The voting for World Cup 2026 held on Wednesday provided an equal opportunity to each FIFA member association for a say on where the World Cup would be held, and the North Americans carved out victory with the support from the Americas, Europe and Asia, and also got a few votes from Africa.

After months of meetings and arm-twisting, a campaign that began last August when Morocco jumped into the race on the final day that countries could announce their intention to bid, ended in an instant: with electronic vote totals suddenly flashing onto a giant screen.

The victory spared US Soccer a second stunning defeat in less than a year; the United States men’s team is missing the World Cup this summer, its first absence since 1986. The American federation spent more than $6 million — out of a combined budget of about $8 million — to bring the World Cup back to North America, and its first-term president Carlos Cordeiro had criss-crossed the globe to meet voters since his election in February.

The North Americans had offered FIFA’s member associations a ready-made World Cup; the 23 stadiums they offered as potential hosts are already built, as is most of the infrastructure the expanded 48-team tournament will need: training sites, hotels, airports and rail lines.

And, like Morocco, the North Americans also had the full support of their governments. The nations’ so-called united bid was a rare topic on which the presidents of the three countries found common cause, and the United States government, including President Trump, had mounted a stealthy shadow campaign to try to win over FIFA and its member federations.

The North American bid’s signature selling point, however, was delivered in a language FIFA members long have understood: revenue. The North Americans promised FIFA a record $11 billion profit — a staggering amount of money that could mean as much as $50 million for each national association.

Morocco, which pledged a profit of less than half as large as its rival’s, criticized the focus on money over soccer until the bitter end. “The united bid is proposing an offer that is mainly a business proposal for football,” Moroccan official Moncef Belkhayat said. “Their offer is based on dollars, on profit, while Morocco is offering an offer that is based on passion for football, for development of football — not only in Morocco, but also in Africa.”

Morocco’s proposal, too, came with serious concerns. The 2026 World Cup will be the first with 48 teams, a significant expansion from the current 32 and a massive undertaking for any host, especially one going it alone. Morocco would have needed to spend billions of dollars to build nine stadiums and to significantly renovate five others, and do all of it in eight years — four fewer than the 12 FIFA gave to Qatar, which still has not finished the job of getting ready for the 2022 World Cup.

Then there were the hotels, the highways, the rail links and the facilities to host a tournament set to bring more than 1,100 players and millions of fans to North Africa; all would have needed to be built, at a cost of billions more.