On Thursday, almost four years to the day after it was revealed that the men's FIFA World Cup would be returning to the United States and Mexico (and concerning Canada for the very first time) in 2026, 16 host cities were revealed as venues for the first-ever 48-team tournament.
11 American venues were selected, with 5 located in the eastern 3rd (regardless of FIFA's interpretation of Atlanta), three in the central part of the nation and three more out west. Two Canadian cities (Toronto and Vancouver) will host World Cup games for the first time. A pair of Mexican cities (Mexico City and Guadalajara) are set to host the World Cup for the third time (1970 and 1986) while Monterrey was selected for the second time.
Below is the full list of cities selected as host venues for the 2026 World Cup in the Unites States, Canada and Mexico.
Atlanta-- Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Boston-- Gillette Stadium
Dallas-- AT&T Stadium
Houston-- NRG Stadium
Kansas City-- Arrowhead Stadium
Los Angeles-- SoFi Stadium
Miami-- Hard Rock Stadium
New York/New Jersey-- MetLife Stadium
Philadelphia-- Lincoln Financial Field
San Francisco-- Levi's Stadium
Seattle-- Lumen Field
Canada (2 )
Toronto-- BMO Field
Vancouver-- BC Place
Mexico (3 )
Guadalajara-- Estadio Akron
Mexico City-- Estadio Azteca
Monterrey-- Estadio BBVA
With 23 venues vying for 16 locations, a number of significant cities (and venues) were snubbed. Washington D.C., the country's capital (in a joint-bid with Baltimore, where games would have been played), was not chosen.
The Rose Bowl, where the 1994 World Cup final was played, was also not picked with Los Angeles presenting 2 stadiums as options; SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL's Rams and Chargers, was chosen. Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville and Orlando were the other American cities to lose out as 2026 World Cup venues, together with Canada's Edmonton.
Now that we know the host cities, arenas and venues for the 2026 World Cup, let's speak about the tournament itself.
First and foremost, as host countries, it is thought (but not confirmed) that the USA, Canada and Mexico will all automatically receive the 2026 World Cup.
The 2026 World Cup will be the very first tournament including 48 teams split in 16 groups of 3. Each team will play 2 group stage games (down one from three), with the 1st- and 2nd-place finishers advancing to the round of 32. It will also be the first World Cup played throughout three different host nations.
The concept behind including 16 teams is that one round of group stage games is eliminated and changed by an extra round of win-or-go-home games in the knockout rounds.
Considered that the final round of group games can carry really bit, or perhaps no, weight pending earlier results, the new format will guarantee that nearly every game at the 2026 World Cup is hugely consequential.
Yes, FIFA will make a lot more money by changing the format, however fans will also be treated to a much better quality product, from starting to end, with even more global super stars from "lower" national teams than ever before.