On Friday, February 2nd, FIFA announced that the 2026 World Cup final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, marking a historic moment for the United States, Mexico, and Canada as they co-host the first World Cup expanded to 48 teams. The tournament is set to open on June 11th in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, with the final match scheduled for July 19th, showcasing the global event across 16 cities in the three countries.
The 2026 World Cup promises an unprecedented 104-match schedule, up from the traditional 64, reflecting the expanded team roster. This change means a nation will need to play eight matches to win the title, an increase from the seven matches required since 1982. The tournament’s structure aims to accommodate the additional knockout round, ensuring a competitive and engaging event for teams and fans alike.
Canada and Mexico will each host 13 games, including 10 during the group stage, highlighting their integral role in the tournament. The U.S. will host the remainder of the World Cup games, including the quarterfinals onwards, emphasizing its capacity to accommodate the vast scale of the event. Notably, the tournament will shift entirely to the U.S., starting with the quarterfinals, featuring matches in cities like Los Angeles, Kansas City, Miami, and Boston.
The selection of MetLife Stadium for the final underscores the venue’s significance in American sports culture. Opened in 2010 with a capacity of 82,500, the stadium has previously hosted major events like the Copa America Centenario final in 2016. Its choice reflects FIFA’s confidence in the U.S.’s ability to deliver a world-class finale for soccer’s most prestigious event.
FIFA’s decision-making process for the tournament venues for the World Cup considered several factors, including player welfare, fan experience, and logistical challenges across the host countries’ diverse climates and time zones. The organization’s strategy to divide venues into east, central, and west regions for the upcoming World Cup aims to minimize travel demands on teams and enhance the overall tournament experience.
As anticipation builds for the 2026 World Cup, the focus on player welfare, fan accessibility, and the celebration of soccer across three nations sets the stage for a landmark event in the sport’s history. The tournament’s expansion and the collaborative hosting arrangement underscore soccer’s growing popularity and the capacity of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to jointly deliver an unforgettable World Cup.