"On behalf of our United bid, thank you so, so much for this incredible honour", an emotional U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said on the Congress stage.
The joint bid had been the front-runner for the 48-team tournament from the moment a North American coalition was first mooted two years ago, and there have been spells when it has looked like the only credible candidate. Morocco's bid garnered a score of 2.7, along with a stark warning from the inspection team that "the amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality can not be overstated". While the United bid is a co-operative effort, it is the United States that is the undoubted leader, with 60 games - and all matches from the quarter-finals onward - taking place there with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 each.
President Donald Trump tweeted his approval: "The U.S., together with Mexico and Canada, just got the World Cup". The North American bid won 134 to 65, according to ESPN FC. "This is not geopolitics". "At the end of the day, we are all united in football".
Mexico hosted the 1986 World Cup, while the U.S. was awarded the tournament in 1994 but Canada, who have appeared just once at the tournament, have never hosted. With a handful of games in Mexico and Canada but the majority in the USA, the 2026 bid promises the richest and most lucrative tournament in the history of global soccer.
This was the first World Cup vote since 2010, when U.S. and Switzerland investigators unveiled corruption on an unprecedented scale afterwards.
It prompted an overhaul of the rules.
US, Mexico and Canada to host 2026 World Cup
Russian Federation will host the World Cup four years after it spent a record $50 billion to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Canada's only appearance at the World Cup came in 1986 when it loss all three of its games and crashed out in the first round.
Canada for instance pointed to cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal, which will now get the chance to host the global tournament. Thirty-two teams are vying for a place in history at football's most prestigious tournament this summer.
But FIFA votes are notoriously unpredictable. Infantino said Wednesday that discussions about the issue will be held in the weeks to come but added that CONCACAF, and not the FIFA Council, will make the decision. "Now everyone must choose".
Russian president Vladimir Putin had earlier made a speech at the congress, during which he praised FIFA's "commitment to the principle of sports without politics".
"We expect record profits for Federation Internationale de Football Association of (US)$11 billion", said Cordeiro, perhaps hitting the key button.
This is the first World Cup since 2006 to be hosted in Europe.
The North America bid also had to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.