The 2026 Fifa World Cup begins in Mexico and ends at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The U.S. Men’s National Team plays in Southern California and Seattle. The semifinals will be held in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas. Of the 104 total games, 78 will be played in the United States.
Those are the key points discussed on Sunday as FIFA announced the basic elements of its most complex World Cup schedule to date.
The 16 selected North American cities, including 11 in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada, now know the dates and scale of their games.
After months of lobbying, New York and MetLife Stadium beat out Dallas and AT&T Stadium for the top award.
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Years ago, when FIFA member states awarded the 2026 Fifa World Cup spots to the United States, Canada and Mexico, New York was likely the final choice. But between 2022 and his 2023, insider predictions have faded. Dallas has emerged as another major candidate. Los Angeles also joined the three-horse race.
But in the end, FIFA returned to its natural choice: the cultural capital of the Western world, a global city hosting truly global sporting events. New York City officials are proposing to turn on lights at important monuments in Central Park and hold viewing parties.
A nearby stadium in neighboring New Jersey was less appealing. MetLife pales in size and grandeur compared to Jerry Jones’ palace in Texas. He struggled in his 2014 Super Bowl, his biggest event to date, and was the only of the three contestants unable to regulate his temperature, making him vulnerable to sweltering temperatures and extreme weather conditions. .
However, this stadium is the most experienced of his three soccer stadiums and is probably the most capable of maintaining a well-kept lawn. All 11 of his venues in the United States will have special natural surfaces installed for the World Cup. But for indoor stadiums like AT&T Stadium, “creating a stadium that can last for the duration of the tournament…is a big challenge,” World Cup Operations Director Heimo Silgi told reporters.
SoFi Stadium in Southern California was also appealing. It features a translucent roof and state-of-the-art equipment in the entertainment industry’s backyard. But the $5.5 billion building had a fatal flaw. It was too narrow.
FIFA regulations regarding stadium width and length will force SoFi to make significant changes. The change means the capacity for World Cup matches will be significantly lower than the 80,000 people FIFA requires for the final.
And it costs money. Throughout 2023, SoFi officials and the Los Angeles Organizing Committee, led by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, argued with FIFA over who would pay for the World Cup.
Tensions have since eased and some people have taken stock of the situation, but months of stalemate, lack of capacity and a nine-hour time difference between the West Coast and Europe have effectively turned Los Angeles into a battleground. removed from
This is why FIFA chose New York and New Jersey as their jewels.