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The 2026 World Cup is scant silver lining as US fans watch Russia 2018

The US will play no part in this year’s tournament, and the long-term plans for soccer in America remain unclear

US soccer received a much-needed jolt of positivity on Wednesday, when it was awarded the bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup with neighbors Mexico and Canada. But that fleeting high will come with a Thursday morning hangover when this year’s tournament kicks off, and the greater significance of what happened to the US in their failed campaign to qualify for Russia 2018 begins to truly, finally sink in.

The 2026 World Cup will bring welcome publicity and interest in soccer in the US but in the present day US Soccer does not appear to have entirely grappled with the long-term ramifications of missing out on Russia. Most of the players involved in the Calamity in Couva, when a loss to Trinidad & Tobago doomed the US campaign, have described the experience as a waking bad dream.

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