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2018 World Cup preview, plus North America is chosen to host in 2026




Soccer player walks with the ball during a Berlin vs Bayern Munich match at the Olympic stadium in Berlin.
Soccer player walks with the ball during a Berlin vs Bayern Munich match at the Olympic stadium in Berlin.
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

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The first game of the 2018 World Cup kicks off on Thursday with Russia, playing on home turf, against Saudi Arabia.

The event will span June 14 to July 15, 2018 and will involve 32 different teams, narrowed down to a final that will take place in Moscow. Some of the favorites for the win include France, Germany, Brazil and Spain.

The choice of Russia as the host country has garnered some backlash, especially with Russia’s history of discrimination against people who are LGBT and incidents of racism.

Plus, a combined bid by the Canada, the U.S. and Mexico has secured the hosting spot for the 2026 World Cup, with the final to be potentially held at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. This is the first time the men’s World Cup returns to North America since 1994.

We discuss what this portends for North America, including Los Angeles, in 2026. Plus, we preview the 2018 World Cup, with Avi Creditor of SportsIllustrated.com and Kevin Baxter from the L.A. Times.

Guests:

Kevin Baxter, sports writer who covers baseball, soccer and other sports for the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @kbaxter11

Avi Creditor, soccer editor for SportsIllustrated.com; he tweets @AviCreditor