U.S. not named host nation for 2022 World Cup

HOUSTON The U.S. was one of five countries vying for the world's biggest soccer tournament today. FIFA announced that the Middle Eastern country of Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. Australia, Japan and South Korea were also in the hunt.

Houston was hopeful that at least some of the games would have been played here had the U.S. been selected.

A watch party was held Thursday morning at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Soccer fans, members of the Houston Harris County World Cup committee and local leaders gathered in anticipation to see if Houston would host part of the 2022 World Cup. Many were obviously disappointed.

"It was just heartbreak and disappointment and sadness, for the last hour or two," said soccer fan Erin Dutka.

"It's disappointing. It would have been the perfect stepping stone for the U.S. and for us locally to really step up with soccer in this country. It's a setback, but these decisions are made and we'll live with it," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

Many of the city and county leaders told us they still believed that Houston and the U.S. would have been the best choice for the 2022 World Cup.

Back in September, FIFA World Cup delegates toured the city and inspected the Reliant Stadium and George Brown Convention Center to check the readiness of the city to host a World Cup match. Houston Mayor Anisse Parker told the FIFA delegates back then that this city is ready and more than capable.

"This is not about one city. This is about the U.S. bid, but Houston has a strong piece of that bid and we are great soccer town," said Mayor Parker.

"I love the city and I think the reception that we had at the stadium with the mayor and Bob McNair showed the FIFA group that the city is passionate about the game," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati.

Houston was among 18 cities across the country in the running for one of the World Cup matches if the U.S. got the 2022 World Cup bid.

Also today, FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia. Soccer's premiere event has never been staged in either a former Eastern bloc country or the Middle East.

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