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 By Reuters

Diego Maradona: Mexico doesn't deserve 2026 World Cup; U.S., Canada lack passion

ESPN's Sam Borden joins Bob Ley to discuss what the 2026 tournament will look like and what kind of an impact it will have on the host nations.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona says he does not like the decision to have Mexico, Canada and the United States host the 2026 World Cup, decrying the countries' lack of success and passion for the sport.

FIFA decided on Wednesday that the 2026 event, the first to have 48 teams participating, would be split between the three North American countries, with 60 games in the U.S. and 10 each in Canada and Mexico.

The decision will make Mexico the first country to host three times, but Maradona suggested the country's record in the World Cup was not good enough. El Tri has been eliminated in the round of 16 in six straight tournaments.

"I don't like it," Maradona told Telesur. "Mexico doesn't deserve it. The Mexicans come up against Brazil or Germany... and 'boom,' they're out."

Diego Maradona holds the World Cup trophy aloft after the 1986 World Cup final between Argentina and West Germany in Mexico City.
Maradona

Maradona, often considered one of the greatest football players in history, won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 when the tournament was in Mexico.

The 57-year-old also took issue with Canada and the U.S., recalling a proposal ahead of the American-hosted 1994 World Cup from then-FIFA president Joao Havelange that would have split games into quarters to allow for more television commercials.

"There's no passion," Maradona said. "The Canadians may be good skiers, and the Americans wanted to have four periods of 25 [minutes] for the advertising." 

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