Two nations that have never hosted major soccer tournaments have been chosen to host the next two World Cup events in 2018 and 2022. Russia will host the first, the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar - the second. The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, expected to bring in billions of dollars in revenue to the host nations.
Six nations combined to put together four bids to host the 2018 World Cup. Spain and Portugal teamed up, as did the Netherlands and Belgium. Russia and England were the other two contenders. Twenty-two members of the executive committee of football's ruling body, FIFA, cast votes. FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced the winner.
"The 2018 FIFA World Cup, ladies and gentleman, will be organized in Russia."
Russia will have to build new stadiums and infrastructure such as airports and train lines to cater to the hundreds of thousands expected to come to the tournament.
Russia's deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov was jubilant as he accepted the gold World Cup trophy.
"You have entrusted us with [the] FIFA World Cup for 2018, and I just can promise, we all can promise you will never regret [it]. Let us make history together."
The theme of the Russian bid was "ready to inspire." Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will do everything possible to stage a good World Cup. He was not in Zurich for the announcement. FIFA President Blatter offered his congratulations.
"I am sure that to organize the World Cup in that region - in this continent, and Russia is a continent, will do a lot of good to this part of the world. Congratulations to Russia," he said.
Blatter then announced the host of the 2022 games.
"Shall I recall the candidates, Australia, Japan, Korea, Qatar, United States of America. The winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar," he said.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani headed his nation's bid.
"Thank you for believing in change, thank you for believing in expanding the game, thank you for giving Qatar a chance, and we will not let you down. You will be proud of us, you will be proud of the Middle East and I promise you this."
Qatar, too, will have to build new facilities to accommodate the games.
The lobbying process was highly competitive, Australia sent supermodel Elle Macpherson, the United States had actor Morgan Freeman, former president Bill Clinton and, on film, President Obama. Britain's prime minister, star soccer player David Beckham and Prince William campaigned for England.
The choices of Russia and Qatar sends soccer's largest event to parts of the world it has never been before.
In an earlier version of this story we incorrectly titled Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as President. VOA regrets the error.