2026 FIFA World Cup

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2026 FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA World Cup 26
  • Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2026
  • Coupe du Monde FIFA 2026
  • We Are 26
  • Somos 26
  • Nous Sommes 26
Tournament details
Host countriesCanada
Mexico
United States
DatesJune 11 – July 19[1]
Teams48 (from 6 confederations)
Venue(s)16 (in 16 host cities)
2022
2030

The 2026 FIFA World Cup, marketed as FIFA World Cup 26,[2] will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international men's soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The tournament will take place from June 11 to July 19, 2026. It will be jointly hosted by 16 cities in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The tournament will be the first hosted by three nations and the first North American World Cup since 1994.[3][4] Argentina is the defending champion.

This tournament will be the first to include 48 teams, expanded from 32.[5] The United 2026 bid beat a rival bid by Morocco during a final vote at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow. It will be the first World Cup since 2002 to be hosted by more than one nation. With its past hosting of the 1970 and 1986 tournaments, Mexico will become the first country to host or co-host the men's World Cup three times. The United States last hosted the men's World Cup in 1994, whereas it will be Canada's first time hosting or co-hosting the men's tournament. The event will also return to its traditional northern summer schedule after the 2022 edition in Qatar was held in November and December.

Format and expansion

Starting with this edition, the FIFA World Cup expanded to 48 teams, an increase of 16 from the previous seven tournaments. The teams will be split into 12 groups of 4 teams, with the top 2 of each group and the eight best third-placed teams progressing to a new round of 32, as approved by the FIFA Council on March 14, 2023.[6] This is set to be the first expansion and format change since 1998.

The total number of games played will increase from 64 to 104, and the number of games played by teams reaching the final four will increase from seven to eight. The tournament will last 39 days, an increase from 32 days of the 2014 and 2018 editions.[7][8] Each team will still play three group matches.[9][10] The final matchday at club level for players named in the final squads is May 24, 2026; clubs have to release their players by May 25, with exceptions granted to players participating in continental club competition finals up until May 30. The 56 days of the combined rest, release, and tournament periods remains identical to the 2010, 2014 and 2018 tournaments.[6]

The expansion to 48 teams had already been approved on January 10, 2017, when it was decided that the tournament would include 16 groups of 3 teams, and 80 matches in total, with the top two teams of each group progressing to a round of 32.[5][11] Under this format, the maximum number of games per team would have remained at seven, but each team would have played one fewer group match than before. The tournament still would have been completed within 32 days.[12] This format was chosen over three other proposals, ranging from 40 to 48 teams, from 76 to 88 matches, and from one to four minimum matches per team.[13][14][15]

Critics of this format argued that the use of three-team groups with two teams progressing significantly increased the risk of collusion between teams.[16] This prompted FIFA to suggest that penalty shoot-outs may be used to prevent draws in the group stage,[17] although even then some risk of collusion would remain, and a possibility would emerge of teams deliberately losing shootouts to eliminate a rival.[16] To address these concerns, FIFA continued considering alternative formats.[18]

The general idea of expanding the tournament had been suggested as early as 2013 by then-UEFA president Michel Platini,[19][20] and also in 2016 by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.[21] Opponents of the proposal argued that the number of games played was already at an unacceptable level,[22] that the expansion would dilute the quality of the games,[23][24] and that the decision was driven by political rather than sporting concerns, accusing Infantino of using the promise of bringing more countries to the World Cup to win his election.[25]

Host selection

The six confederations

The FIFA Council went back and forth between 2013 and 2017 on limitations within hosting rotation based on the continental confederations. Originally, it was set that bids to be host would not be allowed from countries belonging to confederations that hosted the two preceding tournaments. It was temporarily changed to only prohibit countries belonging to the confederation that hosted the previous World Cup from bidding to host the following tournament,[26] before the rule was changed back to its prior state of two World Cups.

The FIFA Council made an exception to potentially grant eligibility to member associations of the confederation of the second-to-last host of the FIFA World Cup in the event that none of the received bids fulfill the strict technical and financial requirements.[27][28] In March 2017, FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed that "Europe (UEFA) and Asia (AFC) are excluded from the bidding following the selection of Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively."[29] Therefore, the 2026 World Cup could be hosted by one of the remaining four confederations: CONCACAF (North America; last hosted in 1994), CAF (Africa; last hosted in 2010), CONMEBOL (South America; last hosted in 2014), or OFC (Oceania, never hosted before), or potentially by UEFA in case no bid from those four met the requirements.

Co-hosting the FIFA World Cup—which had been banned by FIFA after the 2002 World Cup—was approved for the 2026 World Cup, though not limited to a specific number but instead evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Also for 2026, the FIFA general secretariat, after consultation with the Competitions Committee, had the power to exclude bidders who did not meet the minimum technical requirements to host the competition.[27] In March 2022, Liga MX president Mikel Arriola claimed Mexico's involvement as cohost could have been at risk if the league and the federation had not responded quickly to the Querétaro–Atlas riot between rival fans that left 26 spectators injured and resulted in 14 arrests. Arriola said FIFA was "shocked" by the incident but Infantino was satisfied with the sanctions handed down against Querétaro.[30]

Canada, Mexico, and the United States had all publicly considered bidding for the tournament separately, but the United joint bid was announced on April 10, 2017.[31][32]

Voting results:
Allowed to vote Banned from voting
  Voted for United bid
  Canada–Mexico–United States
  Voted for Moroccan bid
  Morocco
  Voted for neither
  Sanctioned by FIFA
  Abstained from voting
  Not a FIFA member

Voting

The voting took place on June 13, 2018, during the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, and it was opened to all 203 eligible members.[33] The United bid won with 134 valid ballots, while the Morocco bid received 65 valid ballots. Iran voted for the option "None of the bids", while Cuba, Slovenia, and Spain abstained from voting.

Nation Vote
Round 1
Canada, Mexico, United States 134
Morocco 65
None of the bids 1
Abstentions 3
Total votes 200
Majority required 101

Venues

Map
Host cities and venues of the 2026 FIFA World Cup

During the bidding process, 41 cities with 43 existing, fully functional venues with regular tenants (except Montreal) and 2 venues under construction submitted to be part of the bid (3 venues in 3 cities in Mexico; 9 venues in 7 cities in Canada; 38 venues in 34 cities in the United States). A first-round elimination cut nine venues and nine cities. A second-round elimination cut an additional nine venues in six cities, while three venues in three cities (Chicago, Minneapolis, and Vancouver) dropped out due to FIFA's unwillingness to discuss financial details.[34] After Montreal dropped out in July 2021 due to lack of provincial funding and support to renovate the Olympic Stadium,[35] Vancouver rejoined the bid as a candidate city in April 2022,[36] bringing the total number to 24 venues, each in its own city or metropolitan area.

On June 16, 2022, the sixteen host cities (2 in Canada, 3 in Mexico, 11 in the United States) were announced by FIFA: Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Monterrey, Mexico City, Toronto, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Miami.[37] Eight of the sixteen chosen stadiums have permanent artificial turf surfaces that are planned to be replaced with grass under the direction of FIFA and a University of TennesseeMichigan State University research team. Four venues (Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Vancouver) are indoor stadiums that use retractable roof systems, all equipped with climate control while a fifth, Los Angeles, is open-air but has a translucent roof and no climate control.[38] The host of the final match—MetLife Stadium—was announced by FIFA on February 4, 2024.[39]

Although there are soccer-specific stadiums in Canada and the United States, the largest dedicated soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., Geodis Park in Nashville, seats 30,000, which falls short of FIFA's minimum of 40,000 (Toronto's BMO Field is being expanded from 30,000 to 45,500 for this tournament).[40] Stadiums including Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and Lumen Field in Seattle are used by National Football League (NFL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) teams.[41] Although primarily used for gridiron football, with the American stadiums having hosted NFL teams, and Canada's stadiums hosting the Canadian Football League (CFL), all of the Canadian and American stadiums have been used on numerous occasions for soccer and are also designed to host that sport.[42]

Mexico City is the only capital of the three host nations chosen as a venue site, with Ottawa and Washington, D.C., joining Bonn (West Germany, 1974) and Tokyo (Japan, 2002) as the only capital cities not selected to host World Cup matches. Washington was a host city candidate but, due to the poor state of FedExField, combined its bid with nearby Baltimore's, which was also unsuccessful. Other cities eliminated from the final hosting list were Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Orlando, and Edmonton. Ottawa's candidate venue, TD Place Stadium, was eliminated early on due to insufficient capacity.[citation needed] None of the stadiums used in the 1994 FIFA World Cup will be used in this tournament, and the Azteca is the only stadium in this tournament that was used in the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cups.[43]

A † denotes a stadium used for previous men's World Cup tournaments.
A ‡ denotes an indoor stadium with a fixed or retractable roof with interior climate control.
Mexico Mexico City United States New York/New Jersey
(East Rutherford)
United States Dallas
(Arlington)
United States Kansas City
Estadio Azteca MetLife Stadium AT&T Stadium Arrowhead Stadium
Capacity: 87,523 Capacity: 82,500
(Bid book capacity: 87,157)
Capacity: 80,000
(Bid book capacity: 92,967)
(expandable to 105,000)
Capacity: 76,416
(Bid book capacity: 76,640)
United States Houston United States Atlanta United States Los Angeles
(Inglewood)
United States Philadelphia
NRG Stadium Mercedes-Benz Stadium SoFi Stadium Lincoln Financial Field
Capacity: 72,220
(expandable to 80,000)
Capacity: 71,000
(Bid book capacity: 75,000)
(expandable to 83,000)
Capacity: 70,240
(expandable to 100,240)
Capacity: 69,796
(Bid book capacity: 69,328)
United States Seattle United States San Francisco Bay Area
(Santa Clara)
United States Boston
(Foxborough)
United States Miami
(Miami Gardens)
Lumen Field Levi's Stadium Gillette Stadium Hard Rock Stadium
Capacity: 69,000
(expandable to 72,000)
Capacity: 68,500
(Bid book capacity: 70,909)
(expandable to 75,000)
Capacity: 65,878
(Bid book capacity: 70,000)
Capacity: 64,767
(Bid book capacity: 67,518)
Gillette Stadium
Canada Vancouver Mexico Monterrey
(Guadalupe)
Mexico Guadalajara
(Zapopan)
Canada Toronto
BC Place Estadio BBVA Estadio Akron BMO Field
Capacity: 54,500 Capacity: 53,500
(Bid book capacity: 53,460)
Capacity: 49,850
(Bid book capacity: 48,071)
Capacity: 30,000
(Expanding to 45,736 for tournament)

Teams

Qualification

  Teams qualified
  Team whose qualification process has yet to be decided
  Teams failed to qualify
  Teams withdrew or suspended
  Not a FIFA member

The United Bid personnel anticipated that all three host countries would be awarded automatic berths.[44] On August 31, 2022, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed that six CONCACAF teams will qualify for the World Cup, with Canada, Mexico, and the United States automatically qualifying as hosts.[45][46] This was confirmed by the FIFA Council on February 14, 2023.[47][48][49]

Immediately prior to the 67th FIFA Congress, the FIFA Council approved the slot allocation in a meeting in Manama, Bahrain.[50][51] This includes an intercontinental play-off tournament involving six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup spots.[52]

The six teams in the play-offs will comprise one team from each confederation excluding UEFA, and one additional team from the confederation of the host countries (CONCACAF). Two of the teams will be seeded based on the World Rankings, and they will play-off against the winners of two knockout games between the four unseeded teams for the two FIFA World Cup berths. The four-game tournament is to be played in one or more of the host countries, and will also be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup.[50] The ratification of slot allocation also gives the OFC a guaranteed berth in the final tournament for the first time: the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first tournament in which all six confederations have at least one guaranteed berth. This will also be the first time since the 2010 edition in which all continents have a team qualified for the World Cup finals.[50]

CONCACAF (3)

Match schedule

The match schedule, including the venue for the final, was revealed on February 4, 2024, 3:00 p.m. EST, from the Telemundo Center in Miami.[53][54] However, only the venues and dates were confirmed for the matches, with no information regarding group assignments.[1] Match pairings and kick-off times will be confirmed following the final draw, allowing for more matches to be scheduled at favorable times for global audiences.[55][56] The geographical regions were updated with Atlanta and Miami moved to the eastern region. The opening match was announced to include Mexico, taking place on June 11, 2026, at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The opening match involving Canada will take place on June 12 at BMO Field in Toronto, while the opening game for the U.S. will take place on the same day at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Each host nation was scheduled to play its three matches in the group stage within its own country. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host the most matches of any venue at the tournament with nine. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will host the final on July 19. The United States will host 78 matches, including the quarter-finals onward, while Canada and Mexico will each host 13.[57]

Host cities were geographically grouped to optimize travel for teams and fans, except Canada and its opening-game opponent in Toronto. 4 out of 12 groups were allocated for the Central region with 24 matches, three groups in the Western region, and the rest in the Eastern region with a shared-region group with Canada. Cities were split into three regions: the Western Region (Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles), the Central Region (Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Houston, Dallas, Kansas City), and the Eastern Region (Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey).

Group stage

Prior to the final draw, stadiums will be assigned to specific groups. Following the final draw, pairings will be allocated to specific matches, and the kick-off times will be confirmed.[56]

Date No. Stadium City Region Notes
June 11, 2026 (2026-06-11) 1 Estadio Azteca Mexico City Central Tournament opener; involving  Mexico
2 Estadio Akron Zapopan Central
June 12, 2026 (2026-06-12) 3 BMO Field Toronto Eastern Involving  Canada
4 SoFi Stadium Inglewood Western Involving  United States
June 13, 2026 (2026-06-13) 5 Gillette Stadium Foxborough Eastern
6 BC Place Vancouver Western
7 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford Eastern
8 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara Western
June 14, 2026 (2026-06-14) 9 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eastern
10 NRG Stadium Houston Central
11 AT&T Stadium Arlington Central
12 Estadio BBVA Guadalupe Central
June 15, 2026 (2026-06-15) 13 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens Eastern
14 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta Eastern
15 SoFi Stadium Inglewood Western
16 Lumen Field Seattle Western
June 16, 2026 (2026-06-16) 17 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford Eastern
18 Gillette Stadium Foxborough Eastern
19 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City Central
20 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara Western
June 17, 2026 (2026-06-17) 21 BMO Field Toronto Eastern
22 AT&T Stadium Arlington Central
23 NRG Stadium Houston Central
24 Estadio Azteca Mexico City Central
June 18, 2026 (2026-06-18) 25 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta Eastern
26 SoFi Stadium Inglewood Western
27 BC Place Vancouver Western Involving  Canada
28 Estadio Akron Zapopan Central Involving  Mexico
June 19, 2026 (2026-06-19) 29 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eastern
30 Gillette Stadium Foxborough Eastern
31 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara Western
32 Lumen Field Seattle Western Involving  United States
June 20, 2026 (2026-06-20) 33 BMO Field Toronto Eastern
34 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City Central
35 NRG Stadium Houston Central
36 Estadio BBVA Guadalupe Central
June 21, 2026 (2026-06-21) 37 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens Eastern
38 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta Eastern
39 SoFi Stadium Inglewood Western
40 BC Place Vancouver Western
June 22, 2026 (2026-06-22) 41 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford Eastern
42 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eastern
43 AT&T Stadium Arlington Central
44 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara Western
June 23, 2026 (2026-06-23) 45 Gillette Stadium Foxborough Eastern
46 BMO Field Toronto Eastern
47 NRG Stadium Houston Central
48 Estadio Akron Zapopan Central
June 24, 2026 (2026-06-24) 49 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens Eastern
50 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta Eastern
51 BC Place Vancouver Western Involving  Canada
52 Lumen Field Seattle Western
53 Estadio Azteca Mexico City Central Involving  Mexico
54 Estadio BBVA Guadalupe Central
June 25, 2026 (2026-06-25) 55 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eastern
56 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford Eastern
57 AT&T Stadium Arlington Central
58 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City Central
59 SoFi Stadium Inglewood Western Involving  United States
60 Levi's Stadium Santa Clara Western
June 26, 2026 (2026-06-26) 61 Gillette Stadium Foxborough Eastern
62 BMO Field Toronto Eastern
63 Lumen Field Seattle Western
64 BC Place Vancouver Western
65 NRG Stadium Houston Central
66 Estadio Akron Zapopan Central
June 27, 2026 (2026-06-27) 67 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford Eastern
68 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eastern
69 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City Central
70 AT&T Stadium Arlington Central
71 Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens Eastern
72 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta Eastern

Knockout stage

Bracket

 
Round of 32Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
 
                  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 14 – Arlington
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 19 – East Rutherford
 
 
 
Winner Match 101
 
 
 
Winner Match 102
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 15 – Atlanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Third place play-off
 
 
 
 July 18 – Miami Gardens
 
 
 
 Loser Match 101
 
 
 
 Loser Match 102
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Round of 32

Match 73

Match 74

Match 75

Match 76

Match 77

Match 78

Match 79

Match 80

Match 81

Match 82

Match 83

Match 84

Match 85

Match 86

Match 87

Match 88

Round of 16

Match 89

Match 90

Match 91

Match 92

Match 93

Match 94

Match 95

Match 96

Quarter-finals

Match 97

Match 98

Match 99

Match 100

Semi-finals

Match 101

Match 102

Third place play-off

Loser of Match 101Match 103Loser of Match 102

Final

Winner of Match 101Match 104Winner of Match 102

Marketing

Branding

The official emblem and brand identity was unveiled on May 17, 2023, at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California; its basic form consists of a stacked "26" with an image of the FIFA World Cup Trophy in front of it (marking the first time that the trophy has been depicted in a World Cup emblem as a photo, as opposed to a stylized representation), but it is designed to be adaptable to different backdrops.[58][59] The next day, FIFA unveiled variants of the emblem for each of the host cities, which feature color variants and designs that reflect local landscapes or culture (with the Los Angeles emblem featuring a stylized sun and wave, the Monterrey emblem featuring imagery of the Cerro de la Silla mountain, and Toronto featuring the city skyline and CN Tower).[60][61]

Reaction to the logo from the initial unveiling was largely negative, with many feeling that the design was either unfinished or uncreative compared to the emblems of past FIFA World Cup tournaments. By contrast, United States national team player Jesús Ferreira described the emblem as "beautiful".[62][59][63]

Broadcasting rights

On February 12, 2015, FIFA renewed the U.S. and Canadian broadcasting rights contracts for Fox, Telemundo, and CTV/TSN parent company Bell Media to cover 2026, without accepting any other bids. A report in The New York Times asserted that this extension was intended as compensation for the rescheduling of the 2022 World Cup to November–December rather than its traditional June–July scheduling, as it created considerable conflicts with major professional sports leagues that are normally in their off-season during the World Cup.[74][75][76]

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External links