On Thursday, nearly four years to the day after it was announced that the men’s FIFA World Cup would be returning to the United States and Mexico (and coming to Canada for the first time) in 2026, 16 host cities were announced as venues for the first-ever 48-team tournament.
11 American venues were selected, with five located in the eastern third (despite FIFA’s interpretation of Atlanta), three in the central part of the country 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 chosen for the second time.
Below is the full list of cities selected as host venues for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico…
Which 16 venues were selected as host cities for the 2026 World Cup?
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
Toronto – BMO Field
Vancouver – BC Place
Guadalajara – Estadio Akron
Mexico City – Estadio Azteca
Monterrey – Estadio BBVA
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With 23 venues vying for 16 spots, a number of notable cities (and venues) were snubbed. Washington D.C., the nation’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 selected with Los Angeles presenting two stadiums as options; SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, was selected. Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville and Orlando were the other American cities to miss out as 2026 World Cup venues, alongside Canada’s Edmonton.
The 2026 World Cup format and qualification
Now that we know the host cities, stadiums and venues for the 2026 World Cup, let’s talk about the tournament itself…
First and foremost, as host nations, it is believed (but not confirmed) that the USA, Canada and Mexico will all automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament featuring 48 teams split into 16 groups of three. Each team will play two 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 across three different host nations.
The idea behind adding 16 teams is that one round of group-stage games is eliminated and replaced by an additional round of win-or-go-home games in the knockout rounds.
Given that the final round of group games can carry very little, or even 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, but fans will also be treated to a better quality product, from beginning to end, with even more global superstars from “lesser” national teams than ever before.