The FIFA World Cup, the biggest tournament in soccer, will be headed to new regions as Russia won the 2018 bid on Thursday over rivals which included England and tiny emirate Qatar beat a group including the United States for the 2022 tournament.

With the results of the vote at the headquarters of the sport's organizing body in Zurich on Thursday, the tournament will be held in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the first time, noted FIFA President Joseph Blatter.

We go to new lands, Blatter said in a released statement. I am a happy president when we speak of the development of football.

The FIFA executive committee vote did not include a pair of members who were kept from participating after a cash-for-votes scandal which began in October.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke about the meaning of the win.

The decision indicates that Russia is trusted, and speaks volumes for our economic potential and our political stability, he said in a statement released by FIFA.

The country's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the country would spare no expense in hosting.

The Russians were up against rivals for the bid including England, a joint bid by Netherlands and Belgium, and one from Spain and Portugal.

For Qatar, the little, but oil-rich emirate in the Arabian peninsula, the win came despite skepticism.

It was a difficult moment for us because the team headed by [Qatar bid chairman Sheikh bin Hamad Al-Thani]  had a big hill to climb, said Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. A lot of people think that we are a small country, but we can accomplish great things.

For Qatar's bid chairman, persistence paid off.

We were written off early on and no one saw we had a chance to win, he said. He said his team would work to make sure that this is a milestone in the history of the Middle East and the history of FIFA.

President Barack Obama was asked about the decision at the White House in a chance encounter with pool reporters in the Roosevelt Room.

I think it was the wrong decision, he said but added that he is confident the U.S. team will acquit themselves well wherever it is held.