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U.S. still in race to host 2027 World Cup after South Africa withdraws

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(Maja Hitij/FIFA via Getty Images)

South Africa withdrew its bid to host the 2027 World Cup on Friday, citing issues with the time frame for preparation for the event. 

“The time frame for developing the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid has been challenging. This does not diminish our commitment to women’s football, and has instead strengthened our commitment to produce a strong South African women’s team for 2031, and a compelling bid for the same tournament,” the South African Football Association said in a statement. 

The remaining countries in the race to host the tournament include Brazil, a joint bid from Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands, and a joint bid from the United States and Mexico. 

The U.S. hosted World Cups in 1999 and 2003 — the 2003 tournament was supposed to take place in China, but the SARS outbreak forced FIFA to move the games out of the country. 

There are still some obstacles in the way of a World Cup being played in the U.S. and Mexico, though. The World Cup has never been hosted by a South American country, making Brazil a high-quality bidder for the tournament. Germany hosted a World Cup in 2011 and splitting the games between three countries would provide the infrastructure needed for the tournament. 

The 2023 World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand was the first of the women’s tournaments to be held in two countries. The United States and Mexico would be pulling for a similar bid. And with a new head coach at the helm and a new-look team, the U.S. could host a new generation of national and international talent.