The Preliminary Draw of the World Cup 2026 Football is planned to take place in July of 2023. This draw determines the grouping of all qualifying zones of the world’s soccer continents: each nation aiming for FIFA World Cup Football success, having their base in the Asian Zone (AFC), African zone (CAF), North, Central American and Caribbean zone (CONCACAF), South American zone (CONMEBOL), Oceania zone (OFC) either European zone (UEFA), is drawn in a group, in which their opponents will also be revealed.
World Cup 2026 Preliminary Draw (optional) host: Miami, Florida or Washington, D.C.
The Preliminary Draw is scheduled to take place in either Miami or in Washington. Both cities have the appropriate locations, and the capacity, for hosting an event welcoming representatives of all the world’s nations.
Possible Preliminary draw location Miami
The draw venue in Miami would be the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Possible Preliminary draw location Washington
The draw venue in Washington would be the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Both sites have been selected for their accessible location, large international airports and a wide range of hotels nearby. As a result, Miami and Washington DC are both well positioned to welcome visitors from all over the world and provide them with a high level of service. Miami has the most non-stop international flights in the US, and Washington DC is already home to nearly 180 embassies. The draw for the 2026 World Cup qualification period will include all 210 FIFA member countries. The draw determines the group in which the countries are to be placed and which opponents they will draw for the qualification stage. There are six qualification zones worldwide. The exact set-up of the qualification format differs per FIFA continent. In any case, it will start with an initial qualification group for each country, possibly followed by a second qualification group and/or playoffs, sometimes intercontinental.
An explanation of the World Cup qualification and schedule for each continent, can be found at: Schedule/Qualifiers. This is where you will find the set-up and, when they’re available, the results of the draw, the schedule with all matches, results and rankings.
Participating nations: how many will qualify per FIFA zone?
It is ultimately up to each country to rank among the (record) 48 2026 World Cup participant countries. Out of Europe (UEFA), 16 countries will qualify; 9 from FIFA zone Africa (CAF); 8 out of Asia (AFC); 6 out of North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF); 6 out of South America (CONMEBOL); and one from Oceania (OFC). The last two countries will be the result of a ‘second chance’ mini tournament for which two CONCACAF countries, one CAF country, one AFC country, one CONMEBOL country, and one OFC country will qualify as a result of their performance in their previous qualifiers for the World Cup in North America.
Qualification matches: when?
The 2026 World Cup qualification matches will be held between 2023 to 2025.