World Cup 2026: MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to host final as Mexico City's Azteca Stadium gets opener

World Cup 2026: MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to host final as Mexico City's Azteca Stadium gets opener

The 2026 World Cup final will be held at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, with the tournament kicking off at Mexico City's Aztec Stadium.

The 48-team tournament will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico and run from June 11 until July 19, which is a record 39 days in length.

Canada's first game will be held in Toronto on June 12, while the USA's opening match will be played in Los Angeles on the same day.

There will be 16 host cities. Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle had all been named as the other host cities in the US, with Vancouver the other venue in Canada. Monterrey and Guadalajara are the remaining Mexican host cities.

MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (AP)
MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (AP)

The AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas - home of the Dallas Cowboys - will be one of the semi-final venues, along with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home to the city's Major League Soccer club as well as the Falcons NFL franchise.

The third-place play-off will be hosted at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.

The Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the NRG Stadium in Houston, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California are other US venues. Dallas will host a total of nine matches - the most of any city at the tournament.

All of the co-hosts will play their three group-stage fixtures on home soil. The 2026 World Cup will feature 12 four-team groups and also a last-32 knockout round for the first time. In all, the new format will involve 104 matches being played.

Winners and runners-up in each of the 12 four-team groups will advance to a new round of 32, where they will be joined by the eight best third-placed teams. Every match from the quarter-finals onward will be held in the USA.

The game's global governing body had ditched plans for 16 three-team groups, acknowledging the "risk of collusion" in that format while also having been persuaded to stick with four-team groups after the drama which unfolded at the end of the group phase at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was the last tournament to feature 32 teams.

Azteca Stadium in Mexico City (AFP via Getty Images)
Azteca Stadium in Mexico City (AFP via Getty Images)

Tournament schedule

June 11-27: Group stage (matches across all 16 host cities)

June 29-July 3: Round of 32 (matches across host cities bar Guadalajara and Philadelphia)

July 4-7: Round of 16 (Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Seattle, Vancouver and Mexico City)

July 9-11: Quarter-finals (Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Miami)

July 14-15: Semi-finals (Atlanta and Dallas)

July 18: Third place play-off (Miami)

July 19: Final (New Jersey)

Additional reporting by Press Association.