FIFA™ | United States of America, Canada & Mexico

Young Talented Players who can become the 2026 FIFA World Cup stars

Predicting which young talent may go on to have stellar careers in football is always difficult. A failure to push on, injuries, or the wrong choice of club can all mean that what were once burning lights become mediocre journeymen instead. If history is something to go by, each time few players enter the tournaments as grand as the World Cup as stars and some relatively unknown ones reach greater heights based on their performances.

Peering into the crystal ball, it is too early to say what relatively unknown players will become world stars after the tournament. However, here are five young players, one from each of the major football confederations – North and Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe – who might be expected to enter the 2026 World Cup as a star.

Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich and Canada)

Although only 19, Davies is already a star for Bayern Munich, and has just won the Bundesliga title with them, weeks after extending his stay at the club until 2025. Incredibly fast – he recently made a German speed record in a game against Werder Bremen – 2026 World Cup could be his chance to shine in the international arena, especially as Canada is one of the host nations.

U17 stars of 2017 – starring in 2026 at the World Cup finals as well? Pro Shots / Action Images.

Ansu Fati (Barcelona)

Many players have emerged through the Barcelona academy system and been labelled as the next Lionel Messi, but 17-year-old Fati may be the real deal, despite a tough start to life growing up in Guinea-Bissau.

He is the second youngest debutant for the club, has already scored five league goals this season and has been one of the bright spots in what otherwise has been a mixed season at the Nou Camp.

The only question may be for whom will he play international football? Spain have shown their intent by giving him under-21 caps, but Guinea-Bissau will have their eye on him as well.

Lee Kang-In (Valencia and South Korea)

Although South Korea born, Lee has been with Valencia since he was ten years old. The attacking midfielder has already enjoyed international success, having been crowned AFC Young Player of the Year in 2019, and helped South Korea finish runners-up in the under-20 World Cup, where he was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top goal scorer.

The eventual successor perhaps to Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, showed the other side of his game in a recent match against Real Madrid by getting sent off for kicking Sergio Ramos (something many players would like to do)!

Thiago Almada (Velez Sarsfield)

Another player called the next Messi, attacking midfielder Almada has made nearly 50 appearances for Velez Sarsfield, despite only being 19 years old, and already he is being linked with a big money move to Europe, with both Manchester United and Barcelona monitoring his progress.

He has already played for Argentina under-20 side and was the stand-out performer for them in the South American Championships where they finished runners-up to Ecuador, despite being the youngest player in the squad.

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Young talented players possibly starring at 2026 FIFA World Cup
Pro Shots / Action Images.

The man known as the Stockport Iniesta has already won the World Cup once with England, the under-17 tournament in 2017 where he was named player of the tournament. He is now starting to get regular game time at Manchester City, and seems destined to fill the boots of David Silva when he moves on this summer.

As a midfielder he seems to have the lot with a creative range of passing, the ability to score important goals and high work rate. He can expect to break into the full England team in the next year or so…

2026 FIFA World Cup schedule

It still takes some time before the football year 2026 starts, with the World Cup finals in North America being the summum. Heading for the final tournament in the USA, Mexico and Canada, the 2026 World Cup schedule however already starts with qualifiers to be played from 2023 to 2025, at all FIFA continents. The 2026 World Cup draw for qualification is planned to take place in July of 2023, whilst in 2021 the organization will decide on the final 2026 World Cup host cities. These are interesting dates, also for all current young talented football players like Alphonso Davies, Ansu Fati, Lee Kang-In, Thiago Almada, and Phil Foden…!

Main Info

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World Cup Football Qualifiers North America, Central America, Caribbean

Qualification North America, Central America, Caribbean

In North America, Central America and the Caribbean, the FIFA qualifiers run from March 18, 2024 to November 18, 2025. Six, seven or eight of the 32 participating CONCACAF nations qualify, joining hosts USA, Canada and Mexico.

World Cup Football Qualifiers South America

FIFA World Cup football Qualification South America

In South America, the FIFA World Cup qualifiers run from September 7, 2023 to September 9, 2025. A total of 10 CONMEBOL nations participate. Six to seven South American countries will qualify. There is one single round.

World Cup Football Qualifiers Europe

FIFA World Cup football qualification Europe

In Europe, the qualifiers run from March 17, 2025 to March 31, 2026. A total of 55 (of 54) UEFA nations participate. Sixteen European countries will qualify. There is one group stage (Round 1), followed by the European play-offs.

World Cup Football Qualifiers Asia

FIFA World Cup football Qualification Asia

In Asia, the World Cup qualification runs from October 12, 2023 to November, 2025. A total of 46 AFC nations participate. Eight or nine Asian countries will qualify. There are three qualifying rounds, before the play-offs.

World Cup Football Qualifiers Africa

FIFA World Cup football Qualification Africa

In Africa, the World Cup football qualifiers run from November 13, 2023 to November 18, 2025. A total of 54 CAF nations participate. Nine or ten African countries will qualify. There are two qualification rounds.

World Cup Football Qualifiers Oceania

FIFA World Cup football Qualification Oceania

In Oceania, the FIFA qualifiers for the World Cup football run from September, 2024 to March, 2025. Eleven OFC nations participate. One or two Oceanic countries qualify. There are three qualification rounds.


Host Cities USA

The 2026 American Dream: the United States is one of the three hosts of the FIFA World Cup Soccer in North America. The USA is the host country with the most - eleven - host cities.

Host Cities Canada

With Vancouver, and Toronto, Canada has two host cities for the world's football finals in North America in 2026. Get more information about the characteristics of these exciting and diverse, dynamic cities.

Host Cities Mexico

With Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico has three candidate host cities for the World Cup in 2026. Each host with its specific ambience, history, attractions, hotspots and other features.

Stadiums USA

The United States will have eleven stadiums for the FIFA 2026 World Cup. Click for more information about these fantastic and modern venues in the USA, and which matches they will host.

Stadiums Canada

During the 2026 World Cup finals, these are the two venues in Canada: BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, and BMO Field in Toronto. Find out more about these attractive Canadian stadiums.

Stadiums Mexico

In Mexico, the FIFA 2026 World Cup will take place in these stadiums: Estadio Akron in Guadalajara, the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and the BBVA Bancomer Stadium in Monterrey.