2018 FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Wednesday Morning, June 13

Countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – 1 Day

This Morning’s Top Story:

FOX Sports Statement on 2026 FIFA World Cup™

This Morning’s Top Video:

This Morning’s Top Quotes:

Live from Red Square in Moscow, FOX Sports host Rob Stone reacts to the news that the U.S., Mexico and Canada will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup:

“That was some much-needed news, not just for America but for North America.

“This is a game-changing moment for soccer in the states.”

An emotional Alexi Lalas compares winning the 2026 bid to having the chance to play in the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.:

“I’m a cynical, grumpy old guy, and I think back to 1994. This is awesome. This is awesome for all three countries. This is awesome, not just for the sport, and not just for the future of the sport on the field, but off the field, and the culture, and the significance of this joint bid.

“This is a wonderful message to come on the air with. We’re going to have wonderful games in this World Cup, but man oh man, to be able to look to 2026, it warms the cockles of my heart. That is awesome.

“I lived the power (of the World Cup in the U.S. in 1994), and we get to do it again. Damn, that’s pretty cool.”

Lalas highlights the importance of the World Cup returning to American soil:

“This is a seminal moment. This is an opportunity to have this beacon in 2026 that we can all work toward on and off the field. You know and I know the power of the World Cup. We saw it in 1994 for the men’s game and we saw it in 1999 with the Women’s World Cup. It changes hearts and minds. It changes not just the sport, but it changes the culture, and it’s going to happen again. But it’s going to happen in a very, very different time – 2026 in the United States, Canada and Mexico. That unique aspect of the joint bid – that was really, really important, I think, to the ultimate numbers and ultimately winning this bid.

“It is going to be a party the likes of which we have never seen. This is a great day for soccer in all three of these countries.”

In an interview on FOX Business Channel’s “Mornings with Maria,” FOX Sports President Eric Shanks reacted to today’s 2026 bid announcement and explained how and why the United Bid came to be:

“It’s a tremendous day. A lot of hard work has paid off for U.S. Soccer, the Mexican Soccer Federation and the Canadian Soccer Federation to bring it to all three host countries … for the very first time in World Cup history, three countries are going to host the World Cup in 2026.

“[2026 is] the first World Cup that’s actually going to expand from 32 teams that we have here in Russia to 48 teams, and it just made a lot of sense to be able to accommodate the expanded tournament, have all three countries host, and really spread the football love all around North America.”

On FIRST THINGS FIRST, Nick Wright says the 2026 bid gives the U.S. MNT another tangible goal to work toward:

“Now there are two clear goal posts for the U.S. Men’s Team. In 2022, get back in the tournament. In 2026, be in a position where you’re going to have home field advantage in the quarterfinals on. There are 80 matches in the 2026 World Cup, 60 of them are in the U.S., but everything from the quarterfinals on is in the U.S., so get in the knockout round. See if you can do a run better than what happened in 1994, and go from there. You have eight years to play and prepare. It’s great.”

Coming Up:

FOX Sports’ World Cup coverage continues tonight with an hour-long 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP PREVIEW SHOW at 7:00 PM ET, hosted by Rob Stone with analysts Alexi Lalas, Ian Wright, Guus Hiddink, Fernando Fiore, Moises Munoz and Dr. Joe Machnik from Moscow’s Red Square.

Tournament coverage kicks off tomorrow at 10:00 AM ET on the FOX broadcast network with WORLD CUP LIVE, leading into Russia vs. Saudi Arabia at 11:00 AM ET.