16 cities were awarded the right to host matches at the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada on Thursday. Now, attention will turn to who gets the final.
The World Cup final is arguably the most important event in the sporting calendar, with billions tuning in across the globe to watch and tickets flying out before the ink has even dried.
Fifa have the ‘luxury problem’ of being spoiled for choice in 2026. Any one of the 16 cities across three nations has the facilities and infrastructure to put on the greatest show on Earth.
“This is really a luxury problem to some extent that we have,” president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday. “This is probably unique to this part of the world. We have some cities in North America which are not just … important cities in America, but are world, global capitals.
“All of these cities have their pros and cons and if we play a final in New York/New Jersey, it would be a fantastic final. If it is in Los Angeles, it would be a fantastic final. If it is in Miami, it would be a fantastic final. Anywhere in any of these cities, it will be a great final, in Dallas, in Atlanta, anywhere. I should mention all 16.”
For Canada, this is an entirely new experience having never hosted a World Cup, while the United States held the tournament in 1994 and Mexico in both 1970 and 1986.
For USA ’94, the final was played at the iconic Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, while Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca has twice held the final.
But there’s still a long way to go in deciding who gets the honor in 2026, with plenty more still up for grabs including the opening match and other huge knockout fixtures.
“We haven’t even started that process yet,” said Concacaf president and FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani. “We’ve been laboring the last four years with venue visits to get to this point. There will be a whole other process to pick, and it’s not just the final.
“There are a lot of big matches, knockout matches, the opening match, obviously the final. So it’s not just that and there’s a bit of a domino effect as well when you look at it. The match schedule, it’s being worked on. It’s probably on version 88 already just because there’s so many movements.”
One thing is for sure; all three nations will come together to create a World Cup quite unlike any other witnessed before.
“Today, the World Cup has 64 matches,” Infantino said, adding: “We often say it’s like 64 Super Bowls in terms of audience. The World Cup ’26 has 80 Super Bowls, 80 incredible games, 80 finals and we must sure that they are played in the best conditions in every city.”
Yael Averbuch West welcomed USMNT and Nashville SC Designated Player Walker Zimmerman for the latest episode of 90min’s Football Americana. As the World Cup fast approaches, the defender revealed what’s going on behind the scenes at recent USMNT camps – ahead of matches against Wales and England in Qatar. Zimmerman also spoke on the revolutionary CBA agreed upon by the US national teams and US Soccer, giving the USMNT’s side and perspective as the historic procedure went down. Subscribe to the series here.