The cities of New York and Mexico have been chosen to host the final and the opening match of the competition, which will be played for the first time among a total of 48 teams. The ceremony and the opening match will take place at the historic Azteca Stadium in Mexico on June 11 and will honor the national team.
Gianni Infantino, the head of the organization, promised, “The fan experience is going to be incredible,” during the announcement ceremony from Miami. The Italian-Swiss hopes for “six million supporters” and “six billion viewers” for a tournament that is expected to be bigger than ever.
The competition format has been expanded to 48 teams, up from 32 since 1998, for a total of 104 matches spread among 16 stadiums already revealed in 2022: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York in the United States; Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey in Mexico; Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. The 1994 World Cup took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, in the suburbs of the Californian metropolis, where Brazil won its 4th title against Italy in a penalty shootout.
The semi-finals of this upcoming World Cup will take place in Dallas and Atlanta. The current stadium replaced the “Giants Stadium” in 2010, which had hosted three matches of the 1994 World Cup, including Bulgaria’s surprising victory over Germany in the quarter-finals (2-1), and Bulgaria’s defeat in the semi-finals against Italy, propelled by a double from Roberto Baggio (2-1).
The Azteca Stadium, the beating heart of Mexican football, will be the first stadium in history to host the opening match of the competition for the third time after the 1970 and 1986 editions, which resulted in the respective triumphs of Brazil led by Pelé and Argentina led by Maradona in the same stadium.In addition, the 48 teams of the 2026 World Cup will be distributed into twelve groups of four. The top two from each group as well as the eight best third-placed teams will proceed to the round of 16, extending the knockout phase by one stage, which previously began with the round of 16.
This upcoming World Cup is expected to set commercial records for FIFA, as the men’s tournament’s revenue represents the bulk of the income it then redistributes to its 211 member associations.