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MetLife Stadium to host the World Cup final: Fans furious at decision

Earlier this week, the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was announced as the host stadium for the 2026 World Cup final. The stadium, which holds 82,500 people, has been selected to host the biggest game in football ahead of the AT&T Stadium in Dallas which was rumoured to be the frontrunner.

The decision to host at the MetLife Stadium is perhaps more to do with its location rather than the stadium itself. It is a short drive from New York City, a natural hub for a match of this magnitude, and you can see the Manhattan skyline from the stadium.

The MetLife Stadium is used to holding a large amount of supporters, too. It is the home ground of the New York Jets and New York Giants in the NFL and both franchises averaged more than 74,000 per home match during the 2023 NFL season.

However, despite all the positives around the stadium, the decision hasn't gone down well with US fans who know the MetLife Stadium better than most.

MetLife Stadium
The MetLife Stadium has been chosen to host the 2026 World Cup final – Photo by Icon Sport

MetLife Stadium to host the World Cup final: Fan reaction

Social media platform, X, was full of reactions to the news on Sunday. One user said: “Dude, people from all over the world are coming to this. And nobody wants to rent a car to drive to a distant exurb for the game. American stadiums suck when it comes to accessibility, nobody is coming to tailgate at the World Cup.”

Another said: “I love NY/NJ. Lived in Brooklyn for 50+ years. But I've been inside the MetLife Stadium. It is a generic venue without charm or any feeling of soccer history. Weather could be a negative factor too. The Rose Bowl lacks many comforts, but looks amazing on TV & has hosted the Final.”

One person went even further with their fury and posted: “Dear every other country on Earth, DO NOT LET YOUR NATIONAL TEAM PLAY IN METLIFE STADIUM. Nuke it if you have to. You would be doing the US a favour.”

Some of the criticisms that the stadium is facing relate to accessibility, design and local entertainment. One of the biggest concerns for US fans is the turf, though. At present, synthetic turf is laid out at the MetLife stadium and several players have suffered serious injuries on it.

This season, New York Jets quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, snapped his Achilles tendon in the opening match of the season after getting his foot stuck in the turf and he subsequently missed the entire 2023 campaign. Fortunately, FIFA have ruled that all stadiums at the 2026 World Cup must be played on grass so this shouldn't be a concern in the final.

New Jersey governor responds

Speaking after the news broke that the MetLife Stadium would host the 2026 World Cup final, New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy said:

” I'm just elated. I knew we had a very good shot, but you just never know until the words come out of Gianni’s mouth. We're a soccer hotbed. We are as diverse as any region, not just in the country, but in the world.

“And that is just so consistent with FIFA’s values, and I can't say enough good things about FIFA and the relationship we have with them.

“It's just a huge deal – not just for the game itself but leading up to it, and I think we'll build a legacy that will last for many decades to come.”

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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