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Four summers from now, 48 countries will compete for the 2026 World Cup, as the tournament takes place in cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, will announce on Thursday exactly which cities and stadiums will host those matches. A total of 16 stadiums are expected to be selected: ten to twelve in the US, with the rest in Canada and Mexico.
This will be the first time the tournament will include 48 teams, instead of the current 32-team format. This will also be the first time that the tournament has been organized in three host countries.
The cities in contention to host World Cup 2026 matches are: Atlanta; Boston; Cincinnati; Dallas; Denver; Edmonton, Canada; Guadalajara Mexico; Houston, Kansas City, Mo.; The Angels; Mexico City; Miami; Monterrey Mexico; Nashville, Tennessee; New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle; Toronto; Vancouver; and Washington, DC/Baltimore.
Four US cities are considered a lock: Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Atlanta, and Dallas.
The opening “main” match is likely to take place in either Los Angeles or Mexico City, both cities that have previously hosted World Cup finals.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico were selected as the winning bid in 2018, beating out Morocco. The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994; Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986.
The joint offer of the three countries called itself United Bid, under the slogan “Unity. Certainty. Opportunity.” His campaign highlighted the huge financial opportunity of hosting the games in North America, as well as the ease and safety of using large-capacity stadiums that are already in use.
Most of the disputed US stadiums regularly host NFL teams, with some also hosting MLS squads. The Canadian stadiums host the Canadian Soccer League and MLS, while the proposed stadiums in Mexico are home to teams from Mexico’s top soccer league, Liga MX.
The offer touted the stadiums’ luxury suites and club space, promising they are all “ideally designed to accommodate FIFA leaders and guests, international dignitaries and the premium ticket buyer.”
Hosting the World Cup in three very large countries will pose significant travel challenges for the teams and the fans that follow them, especially when compared to tournaments staged in a single country with strong rail links that allow fans to travel from city to city. .
United Bid took this into account when designing regional groups for teams and groups.
Over the course of the knockout stage of the tournament, there will be a flow from west to east, and the bid proposed locating the final match at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. The bid also suggested hosting the two semifinals in Atlanta and Dallas.
But long before the world’s soccer fans arrive in North America, there is the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in the host nation, Qatar. The tournament begins on November 21 and will run until December 18.