Alexi Lalas: U.S. only choice to host 2026 World Cup, no Canada joint bid

Former U.S. defender Alexi Lalas believes there is only one sensible choice to host the 2026 World Cup, the United States.

FIFA announced new rules for selecting the hosts earlier this week, having been forced to postpone the vote because of the corruption scandals that have beset the sport.

There will now be four years of consultation, evaluation and campaigning before a decision in 2020.

But Lalas, who earned 96 caps for his country and was the first American to play in Serie A, said the decision is actually very easy.

Speaking after playing in a friendly at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium on the eve of the FIFA Congress, Lalas said: "It's not even a battle, it's nothing: it has to be in the United States.

"Nobody will do it better, it will make the most money in the history of World Cups, it will be coming to a culture that loves soccer and it just makes all the sense in the world."

The 45-year-old added that football's popularity has grown dramatically in the US since it hosted the 1994 World Cup in which he played, pointing out that professional leagues for men and women are now up and running, with the women's national team being the best in the world.

But when asked if the U.S. would consider a joint bid, as has been suggested by Victor Montagliani, the new president of CONCACAF, Lalas was short and to the point.

"No, why should we share it with Canada or anybody else when we can host it just as well by ourselves?" he said.

"It's nothing against them -- we're a benevolent country -- but in this case I think it should be the United States and the United States alone."

This will come as a disappointment to Canadian Soccer Association president Montagliani, who became CONCACAF's third president in a year when he beat Bermuda's Larry Mussenden 25-16 in a vote on Thursday.

The 50-year-old British Columbian campaigned on a promise to clean up CONCACAF after the last three presidents were toppled by the U.S. Justice Department on charges of bribery and money-laundering.

But Montagliani, who now becomes a FIFA Council vice-president, also said he would push for a winning bid for the 2026 World Cup to come from CONCACAF.

With Mexico and the U.S. both certain to bid, Canada may find itself squeezed out.

But CONCACAF's new leader will be pinning his hopes on the relationship he has forged with FIFA president Gianni Infantino in recent months, as Infantino has expressed his interest in joint World Cup bids.