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World Cup 2026: The biggest tournament yet and a New York final

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World Cup 2026: The biggest tournament yet and a New York final

The United States, Canada and Mexico will host the first 48-team edition of the FIFA World Cup in 2026 — and now we know where all 104 matches in the biggest knockout tournament in soccer history will be taking place.

New York/New Jersey will stage the final on July 19, 2026, beating out early favorites Los Angeles and Dallas to land the showpiece event in men’s global soccer.

The 16 host cities across three countries did not know which matches they would be allocated until Gianni Infantino, president of world governing body FIFA, made the announcements in a live televised show on Sunday, saying the 2026 tournament would be “the biggest spectacle the world has ever seen”.


Where will the three host nations play their group matches?

The U.S. men’s national team, Mexico and Canada have all been granted automatic places at the tournament. The remaining 45 teams still need to qualify.

“There’s going to be 48 countries that are deeply invested in how their team does at the World Cup,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said after the announcement. “It’s going to be a new format and exciting for a lot of people.”

Mexico will kick off in the World Cup’s opening match at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Thursday, June 11, then play in Guadalajara on June 18 and then back in Mexico City on June 24.

The USMNT will start in Los Angeles on June 12, then head north to Seattle on June 19 before returning to Los Angeles on June 26.


USMNT’s Christian Pulisic (Howard Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Canada will play their first match in Toronto on Friday, June 12, and then have their second and third group matches in Vancouver on June 18 and 24.


Who were the winners and losers from the announcement?

Well, New York/New Jersey was the big winner, with momentum having appeared to have gathered behind Dallas’ bid to host the final in recent weeks. Dallas, though, can point to hosting the most matches of any city during the tournament.

The United States, as expected, is hosting all the knockout matches from the quarterfinals onwards but the USMNT will have to progress beyond the group stage to have a chance for fans outside of the West Coast to see them play.

Canada’s 10 group stage games will be split down the middle between the two host cities, Toronto and Vancouver. Both cities will also host one last-32 game while Vancouver will play host to a round of 16 game.

Mexico will open the tournament but has only 13 of the 104 matches, and only three knockout matches.


How will it work?

The men’s World Cup has featured 32 teams since 1998 but it’s going large for 2026 with an additional knockout round and 104 matches rather than 64.

The 2026 tournament will feature 12 groups of four teams. The top two sides from each group will advance to the first knockout stage alongside the eight best-performing third-placed sides — 32 teams in total.

From there there will be a round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and the final.

The competition will be staged across 16 stadiums, with the U.S. cities New York, Dallas, Miami, Kansas City, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston being joined by Mexican venues Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, alongside Canadian cities Vancouver and Toronto.

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Who got what?

AT&T Stadium (Dallas)

Capacity (according to bid book): 92,967

Matches: 9

Breakdown: Dallas missed out on the final but did get the most matches of any city — five group-stage matches, two in the round of 32, a last 16 and a semifinal.

World Cup


The AT&T Stadium will host more matches than any other stadium at the 2026 World Cup (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

MetLife Stadium (New York/New Jersey) 

Capacity: 87,157

Matches: 8

Breakdown: Five group matches, a round of 32, a round of 16 and then the one they all wanted… the men’s World Cup final.

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)

Capacity: 75,000

Matches: 8

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches, a round of 32, a round of 16 and the second semifinal.


SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles)

Capacity: 70,240

Matches: 8

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches, two in the round of 32 and one quarterfinal.

World Cup


(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Hard Rock Stadium (Miami)

Capacity: 67,518

Matches: 7

Breakdown: Four group-stage matches, a round of 32, a quarterfinal and the third-place playoff.


Gillette Stadium (Boston)

Capacity: 70,000

Matches: 7

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches, a round of 32 and a quarterfinal.


NRG Stadium (Houston)

Capacity: 72,220

Matches: 7

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches, one round of 32 and a round of 16.


BC Place (Vancouver)

Capacity: 54,500

Matches: 7

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches (including two of Canada’s group matches), one round of 32 and a round of 16.


Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City)

Capacity: 76,640

Matches: 6

Breakdown: Four group-stage matches, one round of 32 and a quarterfinal.


Lumen Field (Seattle)

Capacity: 69,000

Matches: 6

Breakdown: Four group-stage matches, a round of 32 and a round of 16.


BMO Field (Toronto)

Capacity: 45,736 (expanding from current 30,000 for the tournament)

Matches: 6

Breakdown: Five group matches (including co-host Canada’s opening game) and a round of 32


Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco Bay Area)

Capacity: 70,909

Matches: 6

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches and one round of 32.


Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)

Capacity: 69, 328

Matches: 6

Breakdown: Five group-stage matches and a round of 16 on July 4 — the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


Estadio Azteca (Mexico City)

Capacity: 87,523

Matches: 5

Breakdown: The opening match on June 11, featuring co-hosts Mexico; two more group matches, a round of 32 match and a round of 16.


Estadio Akron (Guadalajara)

Capacity: 48,071

Matches: 4

Breakdown: Four group matches only.


Estadio BBVA (Monterrey)

Capacity: 53,460

Matches: 4

Breakdown: Three group-stage matches and a round of 16.


What else do I need to know?

If you like tournament football and you live in North America, you’re in the right place.

The U.S. will host the Copa America in June and July this year, with 16 teams vying to win the final in Miami on July 14.

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 (Top photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)



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