FIFA™ WORLD CUP FOOTBALL / SOCCER 2026 | NORTH AMERICA
The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be held in North America: in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. At the 2026 World Cup Football finals there is a record number of 48 participating countries. Having three host countries is also a first in World Cup Soccer history. There will be 16 host cities: 2 in Canada, 3 in Mexico, and 11 in the United States. The 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup™ will begin Sunday, May 31, 2026 and end with the final on Sunday, July 19, 2026. The qualifiers will start in 2023 and end in 2025-2026. The 48 teams will play 104 matches in total at the North American finals of this international association football competition. The 2026 World Cup was awarded to North America on June 13, 2018.
World Cup Football Qualifiers
UPDATE MARCH 14, 2023: 12 GROUPS OF FOUR
UPDATE: FIFA has announced on Tuesday 14 March 2023 that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will start with twelve groups of four. The knockout phase starts with the sixteenth finals. This means that a total of 104 matches are scheduled for the World Cup in North America. The tournament in the three host countries, United States, Mexico and Canada, lasts 40 game days. The opening match is on Sunday, May 31, 2026. The final of the World Cup is on Sunday, July 19, 2026.
From the group stage, the numbers one, numbers two and the eight best numbers three advance to the next round; the sixteenth finals.
FIFA announced this schedule change at the FIFA Council, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Kigali, Rwanda. During that meeting, the international match calendars were approved.
The original plan for sixteen groups of three countries for the World Cup in North America has been cancelled.
The World Cup has 48 countries for the first time. During the previous World Cup, in 2022, there were 32 teams. They were then equally divided into eight groups. The World Cup in Qatar lasted 29 days, eleven days less than the 40 match days during the upcoming event in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Further on this page and website you will find the original information. However, as mentioned, the plans for the format have now been changed from sixteen groups of three into to twelve groups of four.
The exact further dates, times and schedule of the matches will be released at a later date. The qualification stage starts in 2023 and ends in 2025, divided into six continental football zones worldwide: CONCACAF (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia), UEFA (Europe), and OFC (Oceania).
2026 WORLD CUP HOST CITIES
AS ANNOUNCED ON JUNE 16, 2022:
• Vancouver (BC Place Stadium)
• Seattle (Lumen Field)
• San Francisco Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium)
• Los Angeles Inglewood (SoFi Stadium)
• Guadalajara (Estadio Akron)
• Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium)
• Dallas (AT&T Stadium)
• Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
• Houston (NRG Stadium)
• Monterrey (BBVA Bancomer Stadium)
• Mexico City (Azteca Stadium)
• Toronto (BMO Field)
• Boston (Gillette Stadium)
• Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
• Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
• New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)
2026 World Cup: 48 countries, 16 groups, 6 stages, 104 matches
At the World Cup football, during the finals in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, there will also be several time zones. The final tournament will have 104 matches due to the number of 48 participating countries and the format of twelve groups of four, followed by the sixteenth finals. The maximum number of participating country teams at the FIFA World Cup Soccer has been 32 so far. At the 2026 edition, the first round, the group stage, consists of twelve groups of four countries. This already makes up 72 matches on the schedule. The knockout stage starts with the round of 32 (the 16th finals).
2026 World Cup host cities and stadiums: from 22 to 16
The 2026 FIFA World Cup has sixteen host cities (and stadiums). These are divided out as follows: 11 World Cup cities in the United States, 2 World Cup cities in Canada and 3 World Cup cities in Mexico. In July 2021, Montreal (Canada) withdrew as a contender. There have been 22 most recent candidate FIFA World Cup 2026 host cities, of which seventeen are located in the United States; six of them have dropped out at June 16, 2022. The outcome of the FIFA selection process has also dropped out one candidate host in Canada. The mentioned decision date had been delayed as a consequence of the postponed FIFA visits to the cities, due to the Covid pandemic. The announcement was originally supposed to be in 2021.
World Cup final: Sunday 19 July 2026
The 2026 FIFA World Cup final in North America will take place on Sunday, July 19, 2026, possibly in New York/New Jersey at the MetLife Stadium. The opening match of the World Cup on Sunday, May 31, 2026 will be held in Los Angeles (Rose Bowl) – Update June 16, 2022: the Rose Bowl has not been selected as a host city – or in Mexico City (Azteca Stadium). The aforementioned information is subject to final decisions and is part of the successful Bid United of the host countries: the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
2026 World Cup football draw and final draw
The Preliminary Draws of the World Cup 2026 soccer are planned from 2023 onwards, where applicable in the different FIFA zones. These draws determine the grouping of the qualifying zones of the world’s football continents: Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, Oceania, and North, Central America and the Caribbean. The FIFA World Cup final draw is planned to take place by the end of 2025.
2026 World Cup format
For a general summary of the World Cup format of the 2026 edition in North America – the most important things you should know – please click on previous link. Click on qualification format in order to get to know the format regarding the qualifiers of all FIFA-members from AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA, and OFC. As mentioned, the qualification period for the 2026 finals runs from 2023 to 2025-2026. You can also find information about the final 104 matches at the 2026 North American World Cup stadiums: the schedule and final tournament format consisting of the group stage, round of 32, round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, match for third and fourth place, and the final.
Soccer World Championship North America
The FIFA World Cup takes place every four years, with Argentina being the reigning world champion (2022). In 2022, the new football world champion was crowned in Qatar, led by top star Lionel Messi. Argentina will therefore kick off the qualifying series of the 2026 World Cup in North America as a titleholder. The 23rd FIFA World Cup will celebrate its 96th anniversary in 2026.