Eletiofe2026 World Cup schedule reveal: FIFA picks New York...

2026 World Cup schedule reveal: FIFA picks New York for final, Mexico for opener, West Coast for USMNT

-

- Advertisment -

The 2026 World Cup will open in Mexico City and conclude at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The U.S. men’s national team will play in Southern California and Seattle. The semifinals will be staged in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas. And overall, 78 of 104 games will be in the United States.

Those were the top-line takeaways Sunday as FIFA revealed foundational pieces of the most complex World Cup schedule ever.

The 16 North American cities selected — 11 in the U.S., three in Mexico and two in Canada — learned the dates and magnitude of the games they’ll get to host.

And officials in New York and New Jersey celebrated. The final is the crown jewel, the planet’s most-watched sporting event, an unparalleled showpiece, and a big reason Sunday’s announcement was so eagerly anticipated. After months of lobbying, New York and MetLife Stadium beat Dallas and AT&T Stadium to the grand prize.

FIFA announces 2026 World Cup final location

Years ago, when FIFA’s members entrusted the U.S., Canada and Mexico with the 2026 World Cup, New York was the presumed final favorite. But throughout 2022 and 2023, insider predictions wavered. Dallas emerged as another leading contender. Los Angeles also entered what became a three-horse race.

Ultimately, though, FIFA fell back on the natural choice, the cultural capital of the Western world, a global city for a truly global sporting event. New York officials offered to light up prominent landmarks and host viewing parties in Central Park.

Their adjacent stadium, in nearby New Jersey, was less appealing. MetLife pales in size and grandeur to Jerry Jones’ palace in Texas. It struggled with its biggest event to date, the 2014 Super Bowl. It was the only of three candidates incapable of climate control, and therefore susceptible to suffocating temperatures or extreme weather.

But it is the most experienced soccer venue of the three, and likely the most capable of maintaining well-manicured grass. All 11 U.S. venues will install specialized natural surfaces for the World Cup. But for an indoor arena like AT&T Stadium, crafting a field that will “survive the duration of the tournament … is a huge challenge,” Heimo Schirgi, the World Cup’s chief operating officer, told reporters this past fall.

SoFi Stadium in Southern California was also attractive. It boasts a translucent roof and ultra-modern amenities in the entertainment industry’s backyard. But the $5.5 billion building had one fatal flaw: it is too narrow. FIFA regulations for the width and length of playing fields will force SoFi to make significant alterations. Those alterations will trim its capacity for World Cup matches to well below the 80,000 that FIFA requires for the final.

And they’ll also cost money. Throughout 2023, SoFi officials and the L.A. organizing committee, led by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, bickered with FIFA over who would foot the World Cup bill. Tensions have since eased, multiple people familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports, but the months-long standoff — along with insufficient capacity and the nine-hour time difference between the west coast and Europe — effectively removed L.A. from consideration.

So FIFA chose New York and New Jersey for the showpiece.

Other key 2026 World Cup decisions

Dallas settled for a semifinal and nine games overall, the most of any host city. Atlanta will host the other semifinal.

Los Angeles settled for a quarterfinal and two USMNT group matches, including the first of the 78 stateside games, on Friday, June 12. Southern California, therefore, will likely become the USMNT’s home base for the tournament, head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed Sunday. (Berhalter also said that U.S. Soccer’s new Atlanta training center will be ready in time for the 2026 World Cup, and will be the team’s pre-tournament hub.)

Kansas City, Miami and Boston will also get quarterfinals. Each of the 11 U.S. cities will get at least six matches overall. Philadelphia will host a Round of 16 game on July 4, the nation’s 250th anniversary.

Mexico and Canada will get 13 games apiece. Mexico’s national team will open at the famed Estadio Azteca, which will become the first stadium to host matches at three different men’s World Cups (1970, 1986, 2026).

Canada’s national team will open in Toronto on June 12, then travel cross-country to Vancouver for its latter two group games.

Canada’s group, though, will be an exception. Most of the 48 teams and 12 groups will remain in one of three “regional clusters” to minimize travel, according to a World Cup official involved in schedule development. Those clusters are:

  • East: Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Toronto

  • Central: Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey

  • West: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver

Some 2026 schedule details revealed, others withheld

Sunday’s announcement delivered the “what,” “when” and “where” of the 2026 World Cup schedule, but not the “who.” That will have to wait until roughly December 2025, the target date for the World Cup draw.

In fact, Sunday’s announcement didn’t even deliver the traditional color-coded schedule grid that FIFA typically unveils two-plus years before a World Cup. Stadiums and dates have not yet been paired with specific groups and knockout-round pathways. Those, according to the World Cup official, will be set and revealed later this year.

The first iteration of the 2026 World Cup schedule grid. (FIFA)

The first iteration of the 2026 World Cup schedule grid. (FIFA)

But even then, the World Cup official said, a specific matchup — say, Group G’s top seed (G1) vs. G3 — won’t be locked into a single city. On a given group-stage day, FIFA will assign two cities from the same “regional cluster” — say, Dallas and Kansas City — to a given group. It will then wait until after the draw to decide whether Dallas gets G1 vs. G3 or G2 vs. G4.

This unprecedented “50-50 flexibility,” as the World Cup official called it, will ensure organizers can place popular teams in North America’s biggest markets. It will also allow FIFA to maintain leverage over host cities in contentious commercial negotiations. By withholding some details, FIFA is “keeping the cities hungry, knowing that they’re competing for the chance to have Argentina, or Brazil, in their markets,” one source familiar with the negotiations speculated.

The other big unknown is kickoff times. One key takeaway from Sunday’s announcement, though, is that the first two weeks of the group stage will feature four games per day, rather than the expected five or six. This will allow organizers to place each game in a unique broadcast window — until the final round of group games, which are played simultaneously.

FIFA officials from several departments will gather immediately after the December 2025 draw to set all kickoff times, attempting to optimize them, as they did for the 2023 Women’s World Cup — for players and matchgoing fans, to avoid stifling heat; but also for broadcasters and the millions who’ll watch on TV, considering time differences between the host city and the two participating nations.

Ticketing processes also remain to be determined. Sales will likely begin sometime in 2025.

2026 World Cup schedule by city

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, 1 semifinal
Boston — Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Dallas — AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. (9): 5 group stage, 2 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, 1 semifinal
Houston — NRG Stadium (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium (6): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. (8): 5 group stage, 2 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (7): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal, third-place match
New York — MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (8): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, final
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 16
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32
Seattle — Lumen Field (6): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16

Toronto — BMO Field (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32
Vancouver — BC Place (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16

Guadalajara — Estadio Akron in Zapopan, Mexico (4): 4 group stage
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca (5): 3 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico (4): 3 group stage, 1 Round of 32

Full day-by-day 2026 World Cup schedule

The following is the World Cup schedule, as visualized above, by date and location.

Thursday, June 11
2 group stage games

Mexico City — Estadio Azteca
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)

Friday, June 12
2 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Saturday, June 13
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Vancouver — BC Place
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Sunday, June 14
4 group stage games

Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Monday, June 15
4 group stage games

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Tuesday, June 16
4 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Wednesday, June 17
4 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Houston — NRG Stadium
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Thursday, June 18
4 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Friday, June 19
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Saturday, June 20
4 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
Houston — NRG Stadium
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Sunday, June 21
4 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Monday, June 22
4 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Tuesday, June 23
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Toronto — BMO Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)

Wednesday, June 24
6 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)
Seattle — Lumen Field
Vancouver — BC Place

Thursday, June 25
6 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Friday, June 26
6 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Toronto — BMO Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)
Seattle — Lumen Field
Vancouver — BC Place

Saturday, June 27
6 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Sunday, June 28
1 Round of 32 game

Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Monday, June 29
3 Round of 32 games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Houston — NRG Stadium
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Tuesday, June 30
3 Round of 32 games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Wednesday, July 1
3 Round of 32 games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Thursday, July 2
3 Round of 32 games

Toronto — BMO Field
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Friday, July 3
3 Round of 32 games

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Saturday, July 4
2 Round of 16 games

Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Houston — NRG Stadium

Sunday, July 5
2 Round of 16 games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Monday, July 6
2 Round of 16 games

Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Tuesday, July 7
2 Round of 16 games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Vancouver — BC Place

Wednesday, July 8

None

Thursday, July 9
1 quarterfinal

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

Friday, July 10
1 quarterfinal

Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Saturday, July 11
2 quarterfinals

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Sunday, July 12

None

Monday, July 13

None

Tuesday, July 14
Semifinal

Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)

Wednesday, July 15
Semifinal

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Saturday, July 18
Third-place game

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Sunday, July 19
Final

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

Latest news

Noncompetes Are Dead—and Tech Workers Are Free to Roam

More US workers will soon be free to leave their employers to work for rivals, thanks to a new...

Tesla Promises ‘More Affordable Models’ and a ‘Cybercab’

Tesla is accelerating plans for a lineup of new electric vehicles, including “more affordable models,” the automaker said in...

4 Best Gaming Laptops (2024): From Cheap to Premium

Choosing a gaming laptop is like putting together a well-balanced adventuring party. You need to look at what you...

Court Fixes May 17 To Rule On Detained Binance Executive’s Request For Bail

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed May 17, for the bail hearing...
- Advertisement -

Aggrieved Aspirants Petition APC, Demand Cancellation Of Ondo Gov Primary Election

Three aggrieved candidates who took part in the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election last week...

FG Secures Discounted Prices For CNG

The Tinubu-led Federal Government has announced a concessionary gas pricing for mobility Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The Director/Chief...

Must read

Noncompetes Are Dead—and Tech Workers Are Free to Roam

More US workers will soon be free to leave...

Tesla Promises ‘More Affordable Models’ and a ‘Cybercab’

Tesla is accelerating plans for a lineup of new...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you