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New York selected to host 2026 FIFA World Cup final

By AFP
February 06, 2024

MIAMI: The 2026 World Cup final will be held at MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey, organisers FIFA announced on Sunday.

This photo shows the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.. — AFP/File
This photo shows the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.. — AFP/File

The New York bid held off a strong challenge from Dallas to secure the July 19 game, the culmination of the expanded 48-team tournament being co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The competition will kickoff with the opening game at Mexico City’s iconic Azteca Stadium on June 11.

“The most inclusive and impactful FIFA World Cup ever is no longer a dream but a reality that will take shape in the form of 104 matches in 16 state-of-the-art stadiums across Canada, Mexico and the USA,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“From the opening match at the iconic Estadio Azteca to the spectacular final in New York New Jersey, players and fans have been at the core of our extensive planning for this game-changing tournament... that will not only set new records but also leave an indelible legacy.”

Atlanta and Dallas will host the semi-finals while the third-place game will be played in Miami.

The quarter-final games will take place in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Miami and Boston.

A total of 16 cities across the three countries will host games with the bulk of the matches being held in the USA.

The 1994 World Cup was also held in the United States and the final took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, near Los Angeles.

New York hosted games at that tournament at the old Giants Stadium, which was later demolished to make way for MetLife, which opened in 2010.

The decisions were announced on a live television broadcast in North America that featured Infantino alongside comedian and actor Kevin Hart, rapper Drake and celebrity Kim Kardashian.

The 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium, across the Hudson River from New York in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is the home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets but has held a number of international football games, including the final of the 2016 Copa America tournament.

The New York bid had lobbied hard on the city’s experience at hosting major international events and it’s position as a global city with easy transportation connections for fans.

Dallas had hoped that AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, would benefit from having a roof to protect the game from the elements.

There is some compensation for Dallas with the venue being given nine total games -- the most of any venue.

Los Angeles had also thrown a hat into the ring but the attempt struggled amid disagreements with FIFA about tournament upgrades needed to NFL venue SoFi Stadium.

The Azteca will become the first stadium to host World Cup tournament games in three separate editions after 1970 and 1986.

The venue hosted the finals of the 1970 and 1986 tournaments.

The World Cup will take place during celebrations of the 250th anniversary of American independence.

A round-of-16 game will be held on July 4, Independence Day, in Philadelphia, where the US Declaration of Independence was signed.

The United States will kick off group stage competition at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on June 12 and will also play in Seattle.

Toronto was selected to host the first game for the Canadian team. Vancouver is the other Canadian venue which will host the squad.