The FIFA World Cup is now done and dusted, with Argentina crowned the champions, so the baton was handed over to the next hosts – USA, Mexico and Canada – who will lead a three-pronged hosting attack on the 2026 World Cup.
Just before the 2022 World Cup Final started on Sunday Dec 18, representitives from USA, Canada and Mexico were involved in a handover ceremony in Qatar that will now see the build-up for the 2026 World Cup begin – the 23rd edition of the biggest soccer tournament on the planet.
When Does The 2026 World Cup Start?
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will start on Monday June 8, with the 2026 World Cup Final likely to be played on Sunday July 5.
2026 World Cup Will Be Expanded To 48 Teams
Once the final 2026 World Cup teams are decided they will be split into 16 groups (A-P), with each section having just three sides in (used to be 4). The top two sides from each group will progress to the next stage (32 teams) in a round of 32 knock-out section, the first of its kind at a FIFA World Cup, that will lead to the last 16, 8, 4, 2 and eventual World Cup 2026 winner.
For the first time, the 2026 World Cup will be expanded to 48 teams (from 32), with global qualification for the biggest soccer event on the globe to take place over the next three years.
No Draws at 2026 World Cup Group Stage
The other big change is there will be no draws at the group stage at World Cup 2026. If a group game ended all-square it will go straight to penalties to decide the match, with no extra-time.
What Cities Will The 2026 World Cup Be Played In?
The 2026 World Cup will be hosted across 16 cities in the USA, Mexico and Canada – see below.
1 – Guadalajara (Mex)
2 – Los Angeles (US)
3 – San Francisco Bay Area (US)
4 – Seattle (US)
5 – Vancouver (Can)
6 – Atlanta (US)
7 – Dallas (US)
8 – Houston (US)
9 – Kansas City (US)
10 – Mexico City (Mex)
11 – Monterrey (Mex)
12 – Boston (US)
13 – Miami (US)
14 – New York/New Jersey (US)
15 – Philadelphia (US)
16 – Toronto (Can)
New 2026 World Cup Hosts Will Have Less Time to Prepare
With the Qatar 2022 World Cup taking place in November and December 2022, then it will only be 3 1/2 years until the next World Cup in 2026, which starts on Friday June 8. This means, it will be the first time a host nation has had slightly less time to prepare for the big event, with four years normally between tournaments.
Where Will The 2026 World Cup Final Be Played?
This is subject to change, as there is still just under 4 years until the 2026 World Cup, but it’s being pencilled in to be played in North America in New York/New Jersey at the MetLife Stadium – the home of the New York Jets and New York Giants NFL sides.
2026 World Cup In Numbers
- 1st – Time three countries have hosted the World Cup
- 48 Teams – Will qualify for the 2026 World Cup
- 80 Matches – 16 More than 2022 World Cup
- 23rd World Cup Renewal – First played in 1930 and now in its 23rd edition
- 11 Host Cities in US – Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.
- 16 Groups – Up from 8 groups, with NO Draws in the group games either
- 92,967 Fans in One Stadium – Can squeeze into the AT&T Stadium in Texas
- 0 New Stadiums – Not a single new 2026 World Cup stadium will be built
2022 World Cup Final
Argentina won the 2022 World Cup after beating France 4-2 on penalties when the game ended 2-2 (normal time) and then 3-3 after extra-time.