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FOOTBALL

Spain and Portugal make official joint-bid to host 2030 World Cup

The Spanish and Portuguese footballing federations have already put together a proposed list of venues for the event, which would be the first in Spain since 1982 and the first ever in Portugal.

spain world cup bid 2030
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas raises the World Cup trophy during the award ceremony following the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain on July 11, 2010. PHOTO: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

The Spanish (RFEF) and Portuguese (FPF) footballing federations have formally submitted their application to jointly host the 2030 FIFA World Cup following an agreement made between them in which they chose  14 venues, 11 in Spain and 3 in Portugal.

Despite having dominated international football in recent years, it would be the first time Spain has hosted a World Cup since the famous 1982 event, and Portugal’s first time hosting the sport’s premier competition.

Both footballing powerhouses, however, have hosted the European Championship in the past: Spain all the way back in 1964, and Portugal more recently in 2004.

Host cities and stadiums

Although the host cities haven’t been officially announced yet, if the famous 1982 tournament is anything to go by there would be matches held in Madrid’s famous Santiago Bernabeu and Barcelona’s Camp Nou, but likely both stadiums in each city, as well as both stadiums in Seville, and stadiums in Valencia, Bilbao, Malaga, Zaragoza, Vigo, A Coruña, Gijón, and Elche.

In Portugal, the host cities are rumoured to be Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Faro.

The newly renovated Bernabéu will be ready for 2030. Credit: Real Madrid

Infrastructure 

But it’s not just about stadiums. Host countries are expected to be able to demonstrate the organisational and infrastructural capabilities necessary to make sure all the hosting off the pitch runs smoothly.

It is believed neither Spain nor Portugal should have any trouble satisfying FIFA’s stadium criteria, with includes capacity of a minimum of 40,000 spectators for the matches in the group stages, 60,000 spectators for the semifinals, and a minimum of 80,000 spectators for the opening and final matches.

Stadiums must also meet the requirements to be rated as 4-star category stadiums, something neither Spain or Portugal, two football obsessed countries with huge leagues, will worry about.

In addition to host stadiums, the Spanish-Portuguese proposal has outlined 72 sub-headquarters across the Iberian peninsula, 54 of which are in Spain, that would provide transport, hospitality, organisation and infrastructure support.

This is because potential hosts are also required to satisfy complimentary competition infrastructure criteria, including outdoor areas adjacent to the stadium big enough to host TV and security areas, something both Spain and Portugal are accustomed to as they both regularly host Champions League and Europe League matches, but also parking areas with a minimum capacity of 5,000 spaces on match days.

The 2030 World Cup would also be a boon for Spain’s famous hospitality sector, as FIFA requires host nations have three or four 5-star hotels within 40km from the match headquarters, a passenger airport with within 40km from the headquarters, a railway center near the headquarters, and at least four training centers within 40km.

Rival bids

With their rich footballing history, expansive infrastructure, and fluid border between the two, Spain and Portugal’s Iberian World Cup bid is a strong one. But they won’t be the only countries hoping to host to 2030 tournament, however.

It is is believed government and footballing bodies in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile are also working on a four-nation bid to celebrate the centenary of the first World Cup held in 1930 in Uruguay. 

For several years it was believed that a joint UK and Ireland bid would be the biggest threat to Spain and Portugal’s, but the prospect of an Iberian 2030 World Cup was given a boost when the UK and Ireland withdrew their interest to bid instead for the Euro 2028 competition.

It has been reported that China and South Korea may also be mulling a bid.

The final decision on who will host the 2030 event is set for after the 2022 World Cup, with voting slated for the end of the year.

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FOOTBALL

Spain thrash Costa Rica 7-0 in World Cup opener

Spain shredded Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in a brutal destruction in their Group E opener which launched their bid to lift a second World Cup.

Spain thrash Costa Rica 7-0 in World Cup opener

Avoiding the fate of giants Argentina and group rivals Germany, who lost 2-1 to Japan earlier on, Luis Enrique’s fancied side sparkled at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, dominating possession and taking their chances mercilessly.

Ferran Torres netted twice and Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were also on the scoresheet for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in an emphatic romp.

In the past the 2010 World Cup winners have paid the price for profligacy, but all three forwards Luis Enrique selected netted in the first half to pay back his trust in them.

The coach placed Asensio at false nine, flanked by Olmo and Torres, starting with Morata and Ansu Fati on the bench.

READ ALSO: Where to watch the Qatar World Cup on TV in Spain

The coach opted to deploy Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez in central defence, alongside club team-mate Aymeric Laporte, correctly anticipating his team would monopolise the ball.

It took only 11 minutes for La Roja to open the scoring, with Gavi stabbing a pass forward for Olmo to receive in the area and the RB Leipzig winger taking one sublime touch to turn and another to stroke the ball gently past Keylor Navas.

Costa Rica, who were a surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, beating Italy and Uruguay and drawing with England to top their group, were sliced apart again for the second goal 10 minutes later.

Jordi Alba’s low drilled cross was rammed home by Real Madrid forward Asensio past his former team-mate Navas, who might have done more to keep it out.

Torres stroked home from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte –- a soft call on a hard night for Los Ticos, who were never in the game and failed to muster a shot at goal.

Barcelona forward Torres capitalised on more slack defending to fire the fourth past Navas early in the second half.

Luis Enrique was able to take off the effervescent Pedri and Torres before the hour mark in order to rest them for Sunday’s clash with Germany, and handed teenage Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde his debut.

The 19-year-old roared up the pitch in the build-up to Spain’s fifth goal, with substitute Morata crossing for Gavi to drill home with aplomb.

Kopa Trophy winner Gavi became the third youngest goalscorer at a World Cup at 18 years and 110 days old, after Mexico’s Manuel Rosas and record holder Pele.

Soler and Morata then got in on the act with stoppage-time strikes to pile further misery on Costa Rica and help Spain flex their muscles in a perfect opening match in Qatar.

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