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A new, 48-team FIFA World Cup comes in 2026, and hosted across three countries, too. The North American neighbouring trio of Canada, the United States of America and Mexico will join together to put on an unprecedented global sporting event. Whether the new format will be a success or not remains to be seen, but we'll certainly know by the time of the 2026 World Cup final.
And yet, as things stand, the 2026 World Cup final stadium is unknown.
Why has there been a delay in an announcement, who are the likely competing candidates and when can we expect a decision?
Find out the answers to all those questions, and more, in this regularly updated guide…
When is the 2026 World Cup final?
As we say, the exact location of the 2026 World Cup final stadium has not yet been announced, and neither has the full schedule for the tournament, but we do have a date for the final.
The 2026 World Cup final will be played on 19 July 2026.
Where could the final be held?
Well, in any of three countries, in theory, and in any of 16 cities.
In June 2022, FIFA announced those 16 host cities, which are separated not by country, but by geographical divisions.
The Canadian city of Vancouver joins the Mexican city of Guadalajara and the USA's Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles in a five-city Western Division.
The Central Division is made up of the USA's Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and the Mexican duo of Monterrey and the capital Mexico City. Meanwhile, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami (all USA) and Toronto (Canada) are in the five-city Eastern Division.
Why is the 2026 World Cup final stadium decision delayed?
FIFA are organising the 2026 World Cup, a rare occasion in which the global football governing body are organising their show-piece event themselves, in-house. The argument is that doing so will streamline all the planning procedures, particularly necessary in this instance due to the fact this World Cup is the first to be hosted across three countries and the first to include a bumper 48 teams.
Money, of course, plays a factor, too. FIFA expects to generate in excess of $11bn from the 2026 World Cup, and organising the event themselves will allow them to manage that money closely, instead of seeing it split across several organisations and countries.
However, FIFA are acting slowly. So slowly, in fact, that the host city for the 2026 World Cup is not yet known.
What we do know is this: a decision will come soon, and two cities are in the running.
MetLife Stadium, New York/New Jersey
Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Hosted football before: Yes
Main use: Home of NFL teams New York Giants and New York Jets
The ‘New York' stadium in question is actually five miles west of New York City. The arena would be the impressive 2010-built MetLife Stadium, home to the NFL teams the New York Giants and New York Jets. Its capacity is well over 80,000, but its pitch could be a concern. It's one of several stadiums chosen for the 2026 World Cup that has an artificial turf. This will need to be replaced by a grass field prior to the World Cup.
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Location: Arlington, Texas (near Dallas)
Hosted football before: Yes
Main use: Home of NFL team Dallas Cowboys
Roof: Yes, retractable
New York brings with it an immense and immediately recognisable iconography with its sky-tickling silhouettes and cultural reputation. Arlington, what’s there? Well, a pretty stunning brand-spanking-new sports complex with an 80,000-capacity stadium that includes a retractable roof to keep out both rain and heat, two potential issues.
The AT&T Stadium has a hardly-comprehendable record crowd of 105,121. It was opened in 2009 and is the home of the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys. It would be a surprise choice as the 2026 World Cup final stadium, but the facilities on offer are superb, even if the location is less famous.
The AT&T Stadium has also hosted football, the most recent match being Mexico vs Australia in the September 2023 internationals.
When will the 2026 World Cup final stadium be announced?
An announcement is expected in October or November 2023. This fits with the deadline FIFA have given themselves to announce the full tournament schedule this autumn, including fixture dates, kick-off times and host stadiums.
How many games will there be at the 2026 World Cup?
There will be 104 games at the 2026 World Cup, an increase on the 64 matches played at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. That’s because the tournament has been expanded from 32 teams to 48, a huge increase that requires enormous organisational changes.
Who has hosted the World Cup final before?
The last North American stadium to host the FIFA World Cup final was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. A 94,194 crowd watched Brazil defeat Italy on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the 1994 World Cup final.
Prior to that, Mexico City's Estadio Azteca (pictured earlier) welcome a 114,600-strong audience for the 1986 edition, in which Diego Maradona guided Argentina to a 3-2 victory over West Germany.
The Azteca is a host stadium again for the 2026 World Cup, which created the possibility of it becoming the second stadium in football history to host two men's World Cup finals. Rio de Janeiro's Maracana became the first, hosting in 1950 and again in 2014.
However, this feat being repeated seems unlikely due to the facilities on offer, while the Rose Bowl has been spurned in favour of its Californian neighbour, the 2020-built 70,240-capacity SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home to the LA Rams and LA Chargers.
The USA, however, as a country, looks set to become only the fourth country, after Italy, France, and Brazil, to host two men's World Cup finals.
Here's a full list of World Cup finals and their host stadia.
|Year||Host Stadium||Host City|
|1930||Estadio Centenario||Montevideo, Uruguay|
|1934||Stadio Nazionale||Rome, Italy|
|1938||Stade Olympique||Colombes, France|
|1950||Maracana Stadium||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|1954||Wankdorf Stadium||Bern, Switzerland|
|1958||Rasunda Stadium||Solna, Sweden|
|1962||Estadio Nacional||Santiago, Chile|
|1966||Wembley Stadium||London, England|
|1970||Estadio Azteca||Mexico City, Mexico|
|1974||Olympiastadion||Munich, West Germany|
|1978||Estadio Monumental||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|1982||Santiago Bernabeu||Madrid, Spain|
|1986||Estadio Azteca||Mexico City, Mexico|
|1990||Stadio Olimpico||Rome, Italy|
|1994||Rose Bowl||Pasadena, United States|
|1998||Stade de France||Saint-Denis, France|
|2002||International Stadium||Yokohama, Japan|
|2010||Soccer City||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|2014||Maracana Stadium||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|2018||Luzhniki Stadium||Moscow, Russia|
|2022||Lusail Stadium||Doha, Qatar|