Technically, "San Francisco" hosted World Cup games back in 1994 -- your humble narrator watched Russia defeat Cameroon, 6-1. But that game was at Stanford Stadium. Since that time, Stanford has leveled the 80,000-odd seat venue with no backs on the seats, a large fence obscuring fans' sightlines, and dirt packed beneath the bleachers -- so when fans stomped their feet, the game was quickly enveloped in a dust storm. Stanford's new stadium is a fantastic place to watch a ballgame -- but its supposed capacity of 50,500 is far, far too small for a World Cup venue.
Meanwhile, where to start with Candlestick Park? Your humble narrator watched the recent Barcelona vs. Chivas match there -- and, as always, I was pleasantly surprised at the good sightlines and overall experience. Then again, anytime you don't freeze at The 'Stick while having drunken thugs spill beer on your shoes, it's definitely one for the Win Column. In short, the words "Candlestick Park" and "world-class event" don't belong together. And, keep in mind, we parked across the street from Piccolo Pete's rather than deal with the costly, muddy parking lots. Try translating "Piccolo Pete's" and "mile walk" and "don't even think about wearing suede shoes" into 25 languages, and you start to grasp the problems here.
Also, if the powers-that-be had given San Francisco the greenlight, they'd have been assuming The 'Stick will be even borderline functional in eight or 12 years -- not a great bet -- or that the city will build a new stadium -- an even worse bet.
You can still love San Francisco and love football -- but the idea of San Francisco football just wasn't very lovable.