Who will host the next world cup?

Ahead of this year’s World Cup tournament, which is due to start on November 20 in Qatarfootball enthusiasts around the world are wondering what the next one will look like in 2026.

For the first time, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by three countries and will be held in the USA, Mexico and Canada. Spanning 16 cities and with 48 teams (for the first time) scheduled to play, plans for the tournament have been underway since the three North American countries known as “United 2026” launched their bid in 2009 to host the World Cup.

FIFA hopes that the collaboration between the United States Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association and the Mexican Soccer Federation will open a new chapter for the “world’s number one sport”, directing a global approach that spreads the richness and inspiration of the tournament.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who is hosting the next World Cup?

Within the three countries, the tournament will cover 16 cities. Two cities in Canada will host games, three in Mexico and 11 in the United States:

  • Boston, USA
  • Atlanta, USA
  • Dallas, USA
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Houston, USA
  • Kansas City, USA
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Miami, USA
  • Monterrey, Mexico
  • New York/New Jersey, USA
  • Philadelphia USA
  • San Francisco Bay Area, USA
  • Seattle, USA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Vancouver, Canada

The games will be played in major city stadiums, including MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and BC Place in Vancouver.

“Today is a historic day for everyone in these cities and states, for FIFA, for Canada, the United States and Mexico, who will put on the greatest show on Earth.” This was stated by FIFA President Gianni Infantino the host cities were announced on June 16 this year. “We look forward to working together with them to deliver what will be an unprecedented and game-changing FIFA World Cup as we strive to make football truly global.”

Infantino said the logic behind choosing a diverse set of 16 cities to host the games was to make soccer more accessible to kids in different places, generate billions in revenue in those places and make “the dreams of millions of people come true.” Expanding the number of teams playing in the game from the usual 32 to 48 for the first time is also part of this strategy.

How will it work?

The 2026 World Cup will be held in June and July, but with a longer time frame than usual to accommodate the extra teams and subsequent matches. FIFA is still planning the logistics of how to organize the 80 matches that will make up the 2026 World Cup across its many venues.

Football’s governing body has made it clear it wants the tournament to be as seamless as possible and to limit travel for teams and visitors as much as possible. Sixty games will be in the US, along with 10 in Mexico and 10 in Canada. FIFA also hopes to coordinate regional groups of cities to make travel between matches easier, according to NBC Sports.

The 48 qualifying teams will be divided into 16 groups of three. Each team will play two matches against other teams in their group, instead of three matches as in previous World Cups. The first and second place winners will advance to the next round of 32 teams. From there, the games will eventually be limited to 16 teams and follow the usual World Cup procedure to reach the final. It has not yet been officially announced where the final will take place.

Since the first World Cup in 1930, the host countries have automatically qualified as participants. In August, FIFA confirmed that the three home teams would be guaranteed participation in the tournament. The only other instance of multiple countries co-hosting the World Cup was in 2002 with Japan and South Korea. FIFA adapted its qualification formula to select a few extra teams from each league for the bigger player.

“This has always been a three-nation World Cup and this will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the entire region and the wider football community,” FIFA Vice President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani said in declaration this June.

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