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The World Cup 2026 host cities have been unveiled, with eleven sites in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada.

FIFA confirmed the 16 North American cities that will host World Cup matches in 2026 on Wednesday, with 11 locations picked in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament to be held by three countries, as well as the first to include 48 teams.

The following cities have been officially chosen to host World Cup matches in the United States: New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium); Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium); Dallas (AT&T Stadium); San Francisco Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium); Miami (Hard Rock Stadium); Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium); Seattle (Lumen Field); Houston (NRG Stadium); Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field); Kansas City, Missouri (Arrowhead Stadium); and Boston (Hard Rock Stadium) (Gillette Stadium).

The Rose Bowl, which hosted the 1994 World Cup final, was passed down in favour of another Los Angeles area stadium, SoFi Stadium.

“It was the most competitive process for the FIFA World Cup ever,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said of the selection process, according to Fox Sports. “We will operate in clusters, ensuring that teams and supporters do not have to travel too far in various areas: West, Central, and East.”

Guadalajara (Estadio Akron), Monterrey (Estadio BBVA Bancomer), Mexico City (Estadio Azteca), Toronto (BMO Field), and Vancouver have been officially picked to host World Cup matches in Mexico and Canada (BC Place).

“It’s a momentous day for US Soccer and the entire American soccer community, from the grassroots to the professionals and our National Teams,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more delighted to collaborate with FIFA to host what we believe will be the greatest World Cup in history, together with our close neighbours in Canada and Mexico.”

“I’d want to congratulate all of the bid cities that will be hosting games.” When the globe comes to North America in four years, I believe you will all do an outstanding job of presenting your world-class stadiums, distinct cities and culture, and beautiful supporters.”

Baltimore/Washington (M&T Bank Stadium); Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium); Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium); Nashville, Tennessee (Nissan Stadium); Denver (Empower Field at Mile High); and Edmonton were all passed over (Commonwealth Stadium).

“It’s been a really competitive process.” “All of the locations have been amazing; this was a very, very tough decision,” said Colin Smith, FIFA’s Chief Competitions & Events Officer.

“You can’t envision a World Cup coming to the United States and the capital city not playing a significant role.” We will contact all of the cities that were not picked to host matches. There are other additional places for collaboration, collaboration, and celebration. We’ve seen what a fan fest on the National Mall looks like.”

From the three countries’ initial “United 2026” proposal, 60 games will be played in the United States, with Mexico and Canada each receiving ten matches. All remaining knockout round games will be played in the United States after the competition reaches the quarterfinal level.

The site selection process started in 2017 with contenders from 44 cities and 49 stadiums throughout North America. Candidates were asked to “provide information about each city’s transportation infrastructure, past experience hosting major sporting and cultural events, available accommodations, environmental protection initiatives, potential venues, and more,” which included potential training sites, base camps, and other considerations.

By March 2018, only a few months before FIFA awarded the United 2026 bid the rights to host the 2026 World Cup, the number of North American bidders had been reduced to 23. Cities like as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Arizona were left off the list owing to what local authorities claimed as difficulties with FIFA’s financial demands.

Other notable cities omitted off the 2018 list were Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; and Tampa, Florida. Vancouver, which was originally out of the race because to finance concerns, later replaced Montreal when it fell out in 2021 after the provincial government withdrew its support.

At the end of 2021, a FIFA mission headed by CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani visited all prospective host cities.

The Baltimore-Washington joint proposal for M&T Bank Stadium was unveiled in April when FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, pulled out and chose to combine with the Baltimore bid. A fan event would have been held on Washington’s National Mall under the concept.

Because the Rose Bowl was not chosen, none of the United States’ sites from the 1994 men’s World Cup will be used for the 2026 event.

Five of the 2026 World Cup locations (Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, and the San Francisco Bay Area) were among the nine 1994 sites, while another five (Atlanta, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, and Seattle) were on the shortlist but did not make the cut.

When questioned whether this was more important than gaining Super Bowl hosting rights, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, “Candidly, I believe it’s greater interest from the standpoint of Dallas.” The more time I spend in sports, the more I understand how significant soccer is in the globe. It’s incredibly fantastic and encouraging to be able to participate in such an event.”

The Cotton Bowl hosted World Cup matches in 1994. The Cowboys originally considered developing a new stadium with the intention of hosting huge events. AT&T Stadium has played home to a Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the College Football Playoff Championship, an NBA All-Star Game, and many big boxing events.

“We constructed the stadium with the intention of having terrific, amazing events,” Jones said. “It wasn’t just American Football either.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, centre, with other North American soccer officials, poses with the World Cup trophy. Images from Getty Images
Infantino refused to speculate on which city will host the first match of the 2026 World Cup, stating, “There are still some negotiations to be had, and we will undoubtedly select the greatest cities there as well for the opening and final, but every match in this World Cup will be a final.”

Dallas 2026 Committee Chairman and FC Dallas president Dan Hunt, on the other hand, has his own views about hosting the World Cup final, adding that the stadium could hold six, if not more, events, with FIFA likely to make that choice in 2023.

“Our declared aim is to have finals,” Hunt said. “That’s why we had to compete to accomplish it.”

The Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which held the 1970 and 1986 World Cup finals, will become the first venue to hold three men’s World Cups. Mexico will also be the first country to host or co-host three World Cups for men.

The last time the United States hosted the World Cup, in 1994, the beautiful game saw a surge in popularity, with Major League Soccer launching its initial season two years later.

However, it has not surpassed the top four men’s professional leagues: Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL.

In reality, many of the 2026 matches will be played on redesigned American football grounds, since several are already using artificial grass. The 2026 World Cup will be played entirely on natural grass.

However, with enthusiastic supporters from all over the world ready to visit, Infantino believes the area is primed for a second soccer revolution.

“This section of the planet has no idea what will happen here in 2026.” “I mean, these three nations will be turned upside down and then flipped back,” Infantino said.

“The globe will invade Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and they will be overrun by a huge wave of love and happiness because that is what football is all about.”

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