FIFA announced 16 North American cities as hosts for the 2026 World Cup. Eleven stadiums are located in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada. The 2026 edition of the prestigious FIFA World Cup, the most important tournament in world football, will be the first one hosted by three nations. It will also mark the tournament’s expansion from 32 to 48 teams.

World Cup 2026
The World Cup 2026 host stadiums were announced on Wednesday. (Image: nytimes.com)

The cities selected to host World Cup in the US are New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium), Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Seattle (Lumen Field), Houston (NRG Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), and Boston (Gillette Stadium).

No matches at any of the nine 1994 World Cup venues

The host of the 1994 World Cup final, the Rose Bowl, didn’t make the cut as LA’s new SoFi Stadium was picked instead.

“It was the most competitive process ever for the FIFA World Cup,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a press conference. “We will be working in clusters, making sure that the teams and the fans don’t have to travel too much in different areas: West, Central, and East.”

Washington DC was also omitted from the World Cup 2026 plan, despite being among the nine host cities in the 1994 tournament. In fact, none of the venues from the 1994 World Cup will host matches in 2026.

Infantino promised to hold a “fan fest” on the National Mall as Colin Smith, FIFA’s Chief Competitions and Events Officer, assured even the cities passed over won’t be left out of the World Cup scene.

“We’ve been engaging with all the cities that weren’t chosen to host matches,” Smith said. “There’s still lots of other areas of cooperation and working together and celebration.”

The cities that will host World Cup matches in Mexico are Guadalajara (Estadio Akron), Monterrey (Estadio BBVA Bancomer), and Mexico City (Estadio Azteca). In Canada, matches will be played in Toronto (BMO Field) and Vancouver (BC Place).

60 matches will be played in the United States, with Canada and Mexico each getting 10. All of the quarterfinals matches will be played in the US. Mexico is the first country to ever host matches in three different World Cup editions, previously doing so in 1970 and 1986.

World Cup 2026: A long run for the host cities

The host stadium selection process began in 2017, with 49 venues from 44 cities initially in the running. Candidates were asked to provide information on their city’s transportation infrastructure, past experience hosting major sporting and cultural events, available accommodations, environmental protection initiatives, possible training sites, and base camps for the participating teams.

Before the “United 2026” bid was officially awarded, the list of potential World Cup venues was shortened to 23 in 2018. Chicago, Minneapolis, and Arizona are among the cities dropped from consideration four years ago.

Asked where the 2026 final will be held, Infantino said “we will take our time with the decision.” New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium is the favorite to be chosen, according to reports.

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