The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is now over. For FIFA, planning for the next tournament is already underway. We already know the next World Cup location, the host countries, host cities, and selected stadiums.
Read on for details on these and more details about the first expanded FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Selection Of The New Host Nations
The USA, Canada, and Mexico will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup after their “United 2026 bid” won hosting rights on 13 June 2018. The finals are spread across 16 host cities grouped into three regions.
The tripartite bid was possible because FIFA reversed a World Cup co-hosting ban instituted after the 2002 South Korea/Japan World Cup finals.
The USA will host 60 of the 80 games, with Canada and Mexico hosting ten games apiece. All games, from the quarterfinals through to the final, will be hosted in the USA. The 2026 World Cup will be the first to have three host nations.
World Cup 2026 Bidding Process
Bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting rights had two major bids: the joint “United 2026 bid” from the USA, Canada, and Mexico and a rival Moroccan bid.
The process also introduced rotational World Cup hosting among FIFA’s continental football confederations. In the end, hosting bids from the two recent World Cup-hosting confederations were prohibited.
In March 2017, FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed that European (UEFA) and Asian (AFC) nations were ineligible to bid for the 2026 World Cup hosting rights thanks to Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022. The next FIFA World Cup host would be from South America (CONMEBOL), North America (CONCACAF), Africa (CAF), or Oceania (OFC).
On 13 June 2018, the United 2026 joint bid won a final vote at the FIFA Congress in Moscow to host the expanded 2026 tournament, beating Morocco by 134 votes to 65.
Thus, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first edition co-hosted tournament since 2002 and the first in history with more than two. Mexico also becomes the first country to host three World Cup finals (1970, 1986, and 2026).
The USA will host its second tournament (with two women’s finals in 1999 and 2003), while Canada will host its first FIFA World Cup finals in addition to being the fifth country to host both men’s and women’s World Cup finals (2015).
When Does The 2026 World Cup Start
June 13, 2026, is when the next World Cup will commence. The tournament will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and will feature 48 teams, up from the current 32-team format. Since the 2002 World Cup was held in South Korea and Japan, this will be the first time the World Cup will be held in multiple countries.
In 2026, the FIFA World Cup is scheduled to last 32 days between June 13 and July 14.
In 2026, the 2026 World Cup final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. The stadium is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL).
It has a seating capacity of 82,500 and has previously hosted several major sporting events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, the 2014 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, and several matches of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
2026 World Cup Host Cities And Stadiums
The expanded 2026 World Cup will have 16 host cities spread across three countries. Of the 16 host cities chosen to stage World Cup matches, eleven are in the USA, two Canadian cities, and three are in Mexico, including the nation’s capital Mexico City.
FIFA grouped the 16 tournament host cities into east, west, and central regions to reduce travel and ease logistical issues. The 2026 FIFA World Cup stadiums are also spread evenly across the regions: East and West have five stadiums each, while the Central region leads with six venues to host matches.
Selected host cities include Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York/New Jersey in the East region. The Central region’s host cities include Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey, and Mexico City, while Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Guadalajara comprise the West Region.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup matchday venues include:
East Region Stadiums:
Toronto — BMO Field, Toronto, is the smallest stadium selected to host World Cup matches. With just a 30,000 capacity for Toronto FC matches, the BMO Field stadium is expected to be expanded to a 45,000-seater stadium.
Boston — Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Boston, has a 20,000 seating capacity for soccer games. The stadium will be expanded to hold about 65,878 supporters.
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field, home to NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and with a 71,896 seating capacity, Lincoln Financial Field is one of the newest venues for the 2026 World Cup.
Miami — 64,767-seater Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is the stadium home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and others. However, the Hard Rock Stadium originally had a 75,000 seating capacity and may be improved to hold as many fans in 2026.
New Jersey — Home to the NFL’s New York Jets, the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford has an 82,500-seater capacity. Thanks to its capacity, the New York Giants stadium is a potential venue for the tournament final, having been selected over the Rose Bowl.
Central Region Stadiums:
Kansas City — now called the GEHA Field, Arrowhead Stadium has a seating capacity of 76,416 fans and is home to the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Dallas — AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Dallas, has a retractable roof and can seat 80,000 fans. It’s the home venue of the Dallas Cowboys. Alongside the MetLife Stadium, it’s one of two venues expected to host the World Cup final.
Boston — Mercedes Benz Stadium, Boston, can seat 42,500 fans and is home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Expect the Mercedes Benz Stadium expansion to about 71,000-seater capacity.
Houston — NRG Stadium in Houston is home to the NFL’s Houston Texans. The stadium has a 72,220 seating capacity but can be expanded to hold 80,000 for special events.
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico, has a seating capacity is 53,500. It’s likely to be expanded.
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca in Tlalpan, Mexico City, is home to Club América, Cruz Azul, and the Mexico national football team. It has an 87,523 seating capacity.
West Region Stadiums For The Next World Cup:
Vancouver — At 54,500 capacity, BC Place Stadium is one of the smallest stadiums selected. It’s home to Vancouver Whitecaps, BC Lions, and the Canada men’s national soccer team.
Seattle — Lumen Field Stadium has a 68,740 capacity that could be expanded to 72,000. The stadium is home to four Seattle-based teams.
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium in the bay area seats 68,500 supporters but can hold up to 76,976 for special events.
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium is a 70,240-seater stadium that can hold up to 100,240 fans for major events. The SoFi stadium could host the final.
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron in Guadalajara, Mexico, has a 48,071 seating capacity.
In a June 2022 New York Times interview, current president of FIFA Gianni Infantino resisted calls to reveal where the World Cup final game will be played. Mexico and Canada will each host seven group stage games, two in the round of 32 and one in the round of 16.
2026 World Cup Format
Unlike previous tournaments, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be expanded and include a new format. The 2026 tournament will include 48 participating teams, 16 more than the 32 teams at Qatar 2022.
However, more teams will attract 16 extra games and many new logistical issues to consider. Other notable changes include:
Three opening-day matches will be played in each host country, featuring the relevant host nation.
The 48 teams will be divided into 16 groups of three teams. The top two teams in each group progress to the knock-out round of 32, eliminating 16 teams after just two matches.
Teams will play one-legged knockout matches through to the final. Extra time and penalties are used to separate teams that remain level after regulation time.
Critics argue the new format will disadvantage the 16 teams that won’t play the opening group games. Instead, their first tournament game will be against an opponent playing their final and decisive group game, and who knows their favorable mathematical commutations.
While the new format includes 16 extra teams, it only introduces 16 more games throughout the tournament. The two contesting the final will play the same number of games (6) as in the current format, while the round of 32 participants will play three games, similar to group stage participants at Qatar 2022.
New Qualification Format
After Qatar 2022, qualification for the following tournament will vary to accommodate the 16 extra slots available for the jointly hosted finals in 2026.
Each FIFA member confederation will receive extra slots at future World Cups, essentially guaranteeing participation for an Oceanian team. The new allocation includes:
- Africa — nine teams (up from 5)
- Asia — eight teams (up from 4.5)
- Europe — 16 teams (up from 13)
- Oceania — one team (up from 0.5)
- North & Central America — six teams (up from 3.5)
- South America — six teams (up from 4.5)
The final two spots will be decided in a new World Cup play-off mini-tournament.
Future World Cup Locations – 2030 World Cup Bids
The selection process for the 2030 host began in the second quarter of 2022, with FIFA events officer Colin Smith announcing a host will be chosen at the 74th FIFA Congress in 2024.
The 2017 rotational hosting policy bars CONCACAF and AFC members from bidding. Still, Saudi Arabia is considering a cross-federation bid with Egypt to side-step this policy, with Greece also interested.
With UEFA backing the Iberian bid, a joint bid from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Serbia now looks unlikely. England and the Republic of Ireland withdrew their joint bid.
Confirmed 2030 World Cup Bids
Argentina and Uruguay submitted the first strong bid for the 2030 World Cup on 29 July 2017, before a game in Montevideo.
It received public backing from FC Barcelona’s Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi a month later before Paraguay and Chile joined. CONMEBOL confirmed the bid in September 2021, making it the first-ever quartet to bid for World Cup hosting rights.
On 4 June 2021, the Spanish and Portuguese football federations officially submitted a joint Iberian bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
In 2022, Ukraine announced plans to join this bid and host one of the sixteen groups. If the bid wins, Ukraine will host three nations contesting three group-stage games.
The Morocco Bid
Morocco has lost five bids to host the World Cup finals, the most recent being the 2026 edition. Sports Illustrated reported the 2030 bid in June 2018, alleging that Morocco partly lost the 2026 rights for entering the fray too late. Morocco could welcome Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt to form a joint bid.
All World Cup Locations
Since the inaugural World Cup in 1930, eighteen countries have hosted the competition’s twenty-two tournaments. Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, and Brazil have all hosted the event twice. Canada will join this list in 2026 when they are part of the next World Cup location.
Here is a table of all World Cup Locations since inception.
|1966||England||England||West Germany||4-2 (et)|
|2022||Qatar||Argentina||France||3-3 (4-2 pen)|