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2026 World Cup final stadium: Where is the host city?

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…

Lionel Messi celebrates Argentina winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December 2022
Argentina are the current world champions after their final victory over France in December 2022 | Photo: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN/Icon Sport

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.

Estadio Azteca | Host of the 1986 World Cup Final and host city for the 2026 World Cup
The Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, famous for hosting the 1986 World Cup final, is a host stadium once again for the 2026 World Cup, but will not host the final | Photo by Michel Barrault/Onze/Icon Sport

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
Capacity:
 82,500
Opened: 2010
Cost: $1.6bn
Hosted football before: Yes
Main use: Home of NFL teams New York Giants and New York Jets
Roof: No

Host of a pre-season meeting between Premier League giants Manchester United and Arsenal in July 2023, the MetLife Stadium is experienced in football fixtures already.

New York/New Jersey MetLife Stadium - the potential 2026 World Cup Final stadium and host city
Manchester United celebrate scoring against Arsenal at the MetLife Stadium in July 2023 | Photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA/Icon Sport

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)
Capacity:
80-105,000
Opened:
2009
Cost:
$1.3bn
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.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas | Potential 2026 World Cup final stadium and host city
The AT&T Stadium could be the host stadium for the 2026 World Cup final | Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA/Icon Sport

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
2006 Olympiastadion Berlin, Germany
2010 Soccer City Johannesburg, South Africa
2014 Maracana Stadium Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2018 Luzhniki Stadium Moscow, Russia
2022 Lusail Stadium Doha, Qatar

Harry Robinson

A freelance writer and broadcaster, Harry has worked for or featured in/on Manchester United, FourFourTwo, The Independent, The Manchester Mill, UEFA, United We Stand and many others. He's the author of The Men Who Made Manchester United and hosts the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. A Stretford End season ticket holder, Harry travels around Europe to watch his team.

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