World Cup trophy
World Cup trophy

Morocco, Spain and Portugal will host the 2030 World Cup — but the opening three matches of the tournament will be played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

A South American bid had been put forward to host the entire tournament to mark the centenary of the very first World Cup and FIFA said on Wednesday that the decision to award Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay the opening games was part of the tournament’s 100th anniversary.

All six countries will qualify automatically for the tournament and it will be the first World Cup to be held across three continents.

Uruguay hosted and won the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and Argentina were the beaten finalists, while the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) headquarters are based in Paraguay. CONMEBOL was the only confederation in existence at the time of the 1930 tournament.

Following the first three matches, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and their three opponents will then travel to Morocco, Spain and Portugal for the remainder of the tournament.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the opening game would be played at Estadio Centenario in Uruguay, the stadium which was purpose-built for the 1930 tournament and hosted the final.

The Opening Ceremony will still take place in Morocco, Portugal or Spain.

The 2030 tournament will see Morocco host the World Cup for the first time, having had five unsuccessful bids to host the 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026 versions of the tournament. It will also be the first country to host World Cup matches in North Africa.

Morocco had initially intended to launch a sole bid, before joining forces with Spain and Portugal in March.

Portugal will also host for the first time, having launched unsuccessful bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups alongside Spain, who hosted the 1982 edition. Portugal did host Euro 2004, where they were beaten finalists.

Ukraine had joined the Spain and Portugal bid in October last year with the offer to host some group-stage matches but their readiness for a major tournament had been in doubt amid the ongoing war against Russia.

It will mark the first time a World Cup has been played across six separate countries, with the 2026 tournament in Canada, Mexico and the United States the only other edition to have more than two host nations.

With the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) hosting in 2026 and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), CONMBEOL and UEFA in 2030, in line with its rotation policy, FIFA will look to welcome bids from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) for the 2034 tournament.

“The FIFA Council agreed unanimously that the only bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030 will be the joint bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain,” said Infantino. “Two continents – Africa and Europe – united not only in a celebration of football but also in providing unique social and cultural cohesion. What a great message of peace, tolerance and inclusion.

“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents — Africa, Europe and South America — six countries — Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay — welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup,”

Alejandro Dominguez, CONMBEOL president, wrote on Twitter: “We aimed high and dreamed big. The 2030 Centenario World Cup starts where it all began.”