World Cup Puts Mexico in addition to U.S. in Rare Position These Days: ‘Unified’

MEXICO CITY — The subtext was hard to miss.

On Wednesday morning, soon after the announcement in which the United States, Mexico in addition to Canada had won the vote to be joint hosts of the 2026 World Cup, President Enrique Peña Nieto posted a video on Twitter celebrating the news.

Standing in front of the presidential residence, Los Pinos, he pointed out in which Mexico would likely become the first country to host three World Cups. He extolled the virtues of Mexico as a tourist destination, including its beaches, archaeological sites in addition to “hospitable in addition to warm people.”

in addition to he zeroed in on a concept in which has been evasive of late inside bilateral relationship with the United States.

“We’re deeply unified,” he said, of the three host countries. “Congratulations for being hosts together.” He emphasized the word “together” by clenching his fist.

Mr. Peña Nieto made no mention of President Trump. however the American president could not have been far through his mind.

These have been trying times for the relationship between Mexico in addition to the United States, in addition to the planet Cup, a magnificently complicated undertaking, would likely seem to impose yet another test.

Beginning even before his election in 2016, Mr. Trump has taken an openly hostile stance toward Mexico on various issues, through migration to trade to security, jeopardizing the hard-fought diplomatic symbiosis in which generations of officials on both sides of the border have built.

Last month, as the sides were struggling to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Trump announced tariffs on steel in addition to aluminum against Mexico in addition to Canada, which drew retaliatory Mexican levies on a range of American goods.

however the news of the planet Cup winning bid — dubbed United 2026 — was celebrated throughout Mexico, a nation deeply passionate about soccer.

Arturo Sarukhán, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States who has for several years championed the idea of a World Cup with the two countries as joint hosts, hailed the event as a chance for repair.

“A unique opportunity to create people to people connections & heal some of the wounds inside narrative of ‘us vs them’ being propelled by Potus,” he said on Twitter.

The tournament won’t come to North America for another eight years, so even if Mr. Trump were re-elected for a second term, he would likely be long gone through the White House by the time of the opening kickoff. however planning for the event has already begun.

the item’s a herculean undertaking in which will require fine-tuned diplomacy between the host nations, in addition to lots of cooperation between organizers in addition to myriad federal, state in addition to local agencies in all three host countries.

however the item is usually also likely to be a largely private-sector endeavor, in addition to as long as politicians keep their politics out of the way, experts say, things should go smoothly.

Mexico in addition to Canada will each hold just 10 of the 80 matches, compared with 60 inside United States, which also will be the site of the quarterfinals, semifinals in addition to final.

The only various other time FIFA awarded a World Cup to more than one country was in 2002, when Japan in addition to South Korea were hosts of the tournament. however keeping the peace between those contentious neighbors proved so difficult in which FIFA vowed never to do the item again, Jeffrey Webb, a former executive committee member, told The brand new York Times in 2015.

FIFA’s decision to expand the tournament to 48 teams through its current 32, however, almost immediately put co-hosting back on the table. The sheer scale of the expanded format seemed to demand the item: The tournament’s 80 games in 16 stadiums involve more than 1,100 players.

The winning bid promised to sell 5.8 million tickets, a total in which dwarfs the existing record of 3.6 million.

The United States in addition to Mexico know a thing or two about working together on complex business deals. Under Nafta, regional trade exceeded $1.1 trillion in 2016, in addition to United States foreign direct investment stock in Mexico climbed above $100 billion, according to the Council on Foreign Relations in brand new York.

The countries are also deeply intertwined through migration, culture, language, history, natural resources in addition to — yes — sports.

“These are the two most integrated large countries on the planet,” said Agustín Barrios Gómez, a former Mexican congressman in addition to the coordinator of the working group on United States-Mexican relations for the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations in Mexico City.

“No various other country has as much of an impact on the daily life of the United States as Mexico, in addition to vice versa,” he said.

Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute in addition to author of “Vanishing Frontiers,” about the deeply intertwined relationship between the countries, said the current tension between the Trump administration in addition to its counterparts in Mexico in addition to Canada was “a short-term reality.”

“The longer term is usually about deeper integration,” he continued, “in addition to the planet Cup is usually a fitting symbol of in which.”