World soccer governing body FIFA has announced the schedule of the 2026 edition of its iconic World Cup national teams competition, including the location of its showpiece final, which will be held at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
The quadrennial international tournament, which will be hosted by the US, Mexico, and Canada, will begin on June 11, 2026, at Mexico’s 87,523-capacity Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the largest venue at the tournament.
The final, meanwhile, to take place on July 29, has been confirmed to be situated at the 82,000-capacity MetLife stadium, ending a hotly contested bidding process that saw both it and Dallas’ AT&T Stadium vying to host the big game.
The MetLife stadium, situated in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is the home of the New York Jets and New York Giants National Football League (NFL) American football franchises.
The stadium is situated in the Easternmost of the three geographic regions the host cities of the tournament have been divided into to minimize travel across the North American continent for each team. The 16 stadiums will host 104 matches across the Eastern, Central, and Western zones.
The tournament’s third-place play-off will also be held in the Eastern region, at Miami, Florida’s 64,767-capacity Hard Rock Stadium.
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FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated of the tournament: “The most inclusive and impactful FIFA World Cup ever is no longer a dream but a reality that will take shape in the form of 104 matches in 16 state-of-the-art stadiums across Canada, Mexico, and the USA. From the opening match at the iconic Estadio Azteca to the spectacular final in New York/New Jersey players and fans have been at the core of our extensive planning for this game-changing tournament.”
Mexico City’s Azteca is one of the few purpose-built soccer stadia to be hosting games at the competition, with the entire slate of US venues made up of American football stadia which are to be repurposed for the World Cup, which will be held during the sport’s off-season.
None of the US or Canada’s purpose-built soccer stadiums meet FIFA’s 40,000-capacity minimum requirement to host a World Cup game, hence the dominance of NFL stadia at the event, many of which however have hosted soccer games in the past and some of which regularly host games in the US Major League Soccer competition.
To meet this capacity requirement, Toronto, Canada’s 30,000-seater BMO Field will be expanded to 45,500 seats for the six games it will host.
An issue with the majority of the NFL stadiums that is yet to be resolved is that most of them utilize artificial turf as opposed to standard grass on their soccer fields. It is believed that many, if not all of them, will make the change to suit the international tournament, with a willingness to do so likely pivotal to MetLife and AT&T’s World Cup final hosting bids.
The probable deciding factor however is the time-zone difference between Texas the New Jersey, with the East Coast more appealing to potential broadcasters globally, especially in core markets such as Europe, where the time difference to the US East Coast is less pronounced than the central time zone.