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US could challenge for 2026 World Cup – Arena

Los Angeles (AFP) – United States coach Bruce Arena believes the American national team would be genuine challengers for the 2026 World Cup if the country makes a successful bid to host the tournament.

The United States, Canada and Mexico on Monday announced a joint bid to stage the 2026 finals, with the bulk of the tournament’s 80 games to be held at venues in the US.

Arena told US media outlets on a conference call Thursday that he believed by the time the tournament was staged, the hosts would be serious contenders for the sport’s biggest prize.

“In 1994, the US was looked at as this emerging frontier in the game and FIFA wanted to bring the US into the world’s game,” Arena said, referring to the 1994 World Cup held in the United States.

“In 2026, we’re going to be fully emerged into the game and a big player. I think 2026 will be the time where we are going to start talking about winning the World Cup. It wasn’t going to be in 1994. It wasn’t going to be in 2010. But 2026 could be our time.”

Arena is the most successful US coach in history, guiding the Americans to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The US coach pointed to the steady growth of Major League Soccer and emergence of young players such as Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic who are enjoying success in European leagues.

“We’re one of the host countries, which is an advantage, and think about where we are going to be in nine more years,” Arena said. 

“Think about where we were in 1994, ’98, 2000, keep going. And think about where we will be with even nine more years in our league, nine more years of players developing around the world and then playing the World Cup in our country. 

“I think we’re going to be positioned to be a big player by 2026.”

Arena meanwhile said US officials had been in contact with teenage Dortmund star Pulisic, who had been on the team bus that was targeted in a bomb attack on Tuesday.

“We’ve had contact with him. I actually left him a message today. We’ve had contact with him through texts during the incident, after the incident. He’s okay,” Arena said.

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  1. qqqqsssvzzzvvssss

    April 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    HAHAHHAHHAH what a clown this guy is, haven’t gotten to the quarters since 2004, currently there is 1 player that one can consider good and playing at a big club in a top league, grant it in 9 years A LOT can change but if past history shows anything, the likely hood of another good player coming along is slim to none. The coaches in U.S Soccer are an even bigger issue than the players, the fact Arena and Bob Bradley are considered the height of American coaches is exhibit A. But he has always been one to talk a lot of nonsense and I’m sure the MLS freaks and TV pundits will love it and that’s what’s important to U.S. Soccer.

  2. Soccertvblog

    April 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    One thing I haven”t heard discussed is the CONCACAF qualification process for the 2026 World Cup. The overall field will be expanded and supposedly, CONCACAF will be given 6 slots into the World Cup. If USA, Mexico and Canada are given automatic passage, this leaves a very poor field for qualification with likely Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Jamaica fighting for the 3 spots.

    More importantly, USA, Mexico and Canada will be left with only friendlies (and a Gold Cup) to prepare for the tournament.. While home field advantage is a plus, nothing can prepare a team better than competitive matches which all 3 teams will be sorely missing. I would like to share in coach Arena’s optimism of where we will be in 9 years time, but when I look where we were 15 years ago (2002) I’m not sure we progressed as much as we could have.

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