FIFA World Cup 2026 match schedule announcement: MetLife Stadium to host final as FIFA tournament kicks off at Estadio Azteca

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MetLife Stadium will host the 2026 World Cup final after FIFA announced its match allocation for the expanded 48-team tournament.

During a special television event on February 4, the 82,500 capacity venue in  East Rutherford, New Jersey was confirmed as the venue for the showpiece game, despite multiple reports suggesting the honour was set to fall to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

AT&T will instead host a semifinal, along with Atlanta, and stage the most games of any venue in the competition with nine. Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium hosts the third-place match.

The 2026 World Cup is being staged across the United States, Mexico and Canada and the opening match will take place at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the stage for both the 1970 and 1986 World Cup finals.
 

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FIFA World Cup 2026 match schedule announcement: What did we find out?

A special event was held at the Telemundo Center in Miami, Florida on Sunday, featuring a diverse array of guests from Kevin Hart and Kim Kardashian to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and former Brazil captain Cafu.

In an announcement, Fox Sports confirmed: “During Sunday’s special broadcast on FOX and Telemundo, fans will learn the host city allocations, the location of the tournament’s opening matches in Canada, Mexico and the USA, the group stage locations for each host country’s national team and the venue for the highly anticipated Final match, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 19, 2026.”

Where is World Cup 2026? 

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be played across three North American nations: the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Of the 80 games to be contested in the tournament, 60 will be played in the USA, with 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.

The United States and Mexico have both previously hosted men’s World Cups, with Mexico set to become the first country to host three men’s tournaments (1970, 1986, and 2026). 

After hosting in 1994, the United States will soon join the list of countries to have hosted multiple men’s World Cups, alongside Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France, and Germany.

Canada has hosted a FIFA Women’s World Cup (2015) and a FIFA men’s Under-20 World Cup (2007), making it experienced to welcome the world again on the occasion of a senior men’s tournament.

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Where is the 2026 World Cup final being held?

Home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets, the MetLife Stadium is synonymous with NFL. However, it will stage three matches at the 2024 Copa America including a semifinal – something that now serves as a warmup for staging the biggest soccer match on the planet.

It was believed AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas would be given the lucrative and historic honor. Reports suggested for months that the home of the Dallas Cowboys has beaten challengers MetLife Stadium and SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles, CA) to be handed the game’s most visible and important prize.

In January of 2024, at the time FIFA announced the date of the schedule unveiling, AT&T Stadium’s official X (formerly Twitter) account reposted FIFA’s release with the eye emojis, indicating something big may be on the horizon. 

That was indeed the case, just not in the way many people expected.

Venues for opening World Cup 2026 matches

The opening game of the tournament on Thursday, June 11 will take place at Mexico City’s storied Estadio Azteca, the scene of both Pele’s 1970 triumph with Brazil and Diego Maradona inspiring Argentina to glory in 1986.

Co-hosts Mexico will feature in the game against group opponents that will be set during the tournament draw. It will be one of three group games at the Azteca, with Estadio BBVA in Monterrey (three) and Estadio Akron in Guadalajara (four) closing out Mexico’s round-robin allocation.

Mexico City will also stage a last-16 match.

FIFA World Cup 2026 host cities, match schedule

The specific venues and cities to host matches were announced by FIFA on June 16, 2022 at an event held in New York City and broadcast around the world live. There are 16 total venues which were selected by FIFA amongst 23 cities chosen by the ‘United Bid’, who were aiming to host 2026 World Cup matches.

The host venues will be spread across the three countries, with 11 venues in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada.

Two of the stadiums, Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, have previously hosted World Cup finals.

As it stands, the Estadio Azteca remains one of only two venues in the world to have hosted two men’s World Cup finals, alongside the Maracana in Brazil.

Confirmed venues to host 2026 World Cup matches

Market State Country Venue Capacity No. of matches
Mexico City   Mexico Estadio Azteca 87,523 5
New York City NY/NJ USA MetLife Stadium 82,500 8
Dallas TX USA AT&T Stadium 80,000 9
Kansas City KS USA Arrowhead Stadium 76,416 6
Houston TX USA NRG Stadium 71,795 7
Atlanta GA USA Mercedes-Benz Stadium 71,000 8
Los Angeles CA USA SoFi Stadium 70,240 8
Philadelphia PA USA Lincoln Financial Field 69,176 6
Seattle WA USA Lumen Field 69,000 6
San Francisco CA USA Levi’s Stadium 68,500 6
Boston MA USA Gillette Stadium 65,878 7
Miami FL USA Hard Rock Stadium 64,767 7
Vancouver BC Canada BC Place 54,000 7
Monterrey NL Mexico Estadio BBVA 53,500 4
Guadalajara JAL Mexico Estadio Akron 46,232 4
Toronto ON Canada BMO Field 45,500* 6

Group stage locations for host nations at 2026 World Cup

Kim Kardashian was on hand to tell fans that the United States will begin their campaign at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

USMNT will be based on the West Coast, playing twice in LA and once at Seattle’s Lumen Field. The squad will be based in southern California

Canada will play their first-ever World Cup match on home soil at Toronto’s BMO Field on June 12, which joins Vancouver’s BC Place in staging five group stage matches. BC Place will host Canada’s second and third group matches on June 12 and June 18.

Two of Mexico’s three games will be at the Azteca, with one in Guadalajara. This means Monterrey will not see El Tri in action unless they land there for the round of 16

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