FIFA has finally revealed the host cities for World Cup 2026 with the slight change of formation for the hosting nations, USA, Mexico and Canada.
In the previous plan, there was bound to 10 cities for United States, and three cities each for Mexico and Canada. Eventually, FIFA reportedly picked 11 for USA and only two for Canada, whereas Mexico remains to have three as expected. Those cities have gone through, as FIFA confirmed, the most competitive and lengthy selection process. Several candidate cities were snubbed by the world football governing body including some of those which once were chosen to stage the matches during World Cup 1994. Those are Citrus Bowl, Orlando; Rose Bowl, Pasadena known for holding the World Cup 1994 final; RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, and another candidate from Canada, Edmonton. Only two venues from USA 1994 make the cut for the next world cup, Foxboro (Gillette) Stadium, Boston, Massachusetts and Giant (Metlife) Stadium, East Rutherford, New York.
World Cup 2026 marks the second edition with joint hosts after Japan-South Korea 2002 and the first ever tournament with 48 teams. This would be the second time for USA holding FIFA World Cup after 1994 edition, the third for Mexico after 1970 and 1986 and the very first one for Canada.
The world shall also see a brand new tournament with its tweaked format at the early stage, and probably more with the qualifying round. In United 2026, all 48 qualified teams will be seeded in 16 groups consisting of only three nations. The top two from each group will advance to the round of 32, before going onwards as usual from round of 16 to the final. Another surprising change is that there will be no draw result at the group stage. All ties must be decided on penalties. So, there would be no room for mistakes.
During the tournament, USA shall stage 60 games out of 80, while the remaining 20 are evenly shared between Mexico and Canada. Moreover, the knockout stages from quarterfinals onwards will only be held in USA. Furthermore, the cities in United States will be divided in three regions, East, West and Central. The cluster system which has been reinstated in EURO 2024 might be used again in Unidos 2026. Here is the complete list of the selected cities, venues as well as the region they belong:
- New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium) - East region
- Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium) - West
- Dallas (AT&T Stadium) - Central
- San Francisco Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium) - West
- Miami (Hard Rock Stadium) - East
- Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium) - Central
- Seattle (Lumen Field) - West
- Houston (NRG Stadium) - Central
- Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field) - East
- Kansas City, Missouri (Arrowhead Stadium) - Central
- Boston (Gillette Stadium) - East
- Guadalajara, Mexico (Estadio Akron)
- Monterrey, Mexico (Estadio BBVA Bancomer)
- Mexico City (Estadio Azteca)
- Toronto (BMO Field Stadium)
- Vancouver (BC Place Stadium)
Although, the 16 host cities have been chosen, the venue for the world cup final has yet been confirmed. Two stadiums, Metlife, NY and Sofi Stadium in LA have been tipped as the front-runner to hold the final.