Russia was chosen Thursday by FIFA's executive committee over England and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium.
Russia won despite the absence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Zurich. At the last minute, he declined to make a final pitch for his country.
The 2022 host was to be announced minutes later. The U.S. was competing with Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.
The races to host both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup went down to the wire Thursday, with no candidate emerging as a lock to secure the vote of the FIFA executive committee.
Capping three days of intense lobbying, British Prime Minister David Cameron was at the center of a smooth final presentation for England. It stood in sharp contrast with the overly long show of Spain-Portugal to sway the 22 FIFA voters for the 2018 tournament.
Russia was already hurt by the no-show of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and it seemed unlikely the quirky, fun presentation of Belgium-Netherlands could do much to change their long-shot status.