World Cup 2022 is over and Qatar is receiving a big pat on the back for the infrastructure that they created, the organizational finesse, the facilities and the massive effort that was put forth to keep the event running smoothly. Many observers didn’t expect that the country of 2 million would be able to stand up to keep the events moving on track but in the end, there were few blips and general success.
Next it’s North America’s turn to host. The 2026 Games are scheduled to take place at venues in Mexico, the United States and Canada. Intertops casino bonus football fans have high expectations for 2026 when, instead of all matches being played close to each other, as in the case of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, they will be played in venues in all three nations – three venues in Mexico, two in Canada and eleven in the United States.
Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup marked the first time that a World Cup had taken place anywhere in the Middle East. That will be true for Canada as well which has never before been the host country for any World Cup venues. Mexico hosted five World Cup venues in 1970 and 12 venues in 1986 and the United States hosted the entire World cup in 1994 at nine different venues across the country.
Plans for 2026 have already begun. The games will be expanded as 16 additional teams take to the field for more matches. Most of those added teams will be from Africa and Asia. FIFA’s governing body has decided on the expansion in order to attract additional sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising and broadcast revenues – they expect to take in an expected $11 billion over the coming four-year cycle. According to FIFA officials, the increased profit will be redistributed to a number of development projects including investments in women’s football.
The additional 2026 matches mean more complicated logistics since teams, support staff, fans, media and FIFA officials will need to be transported across 3 countries – and since it’s impossible to know which teams will be the winners of the matches, a good part of the travel arrangements will have to be done at the last minute. Regardless, the entire tournament will still be held within 5 weeks, from mid-June to mid-July.
Mexicans have always been avid football fans but in recent years there have been higher numbers of fans in the United States and Canada as well. FIFA is projecting that up to 5.5 million fans could attend the matches – a record that would surpass the 1994 games when 3.6 million people came (3.4 million people traveled to Qatar to the 2022 World Cup).
The Qatar World Cup hosted 11 teams – in 2026 there will be at least 17 teams and possibly as many as 19, depending on which teams win the six-team intercontinental play-offs. Teams from the United States, Canada and Mexico will automatically be invited to participate as host-country representative teams.
In the United States most of the events will take place in NFL stadiums.
- New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium) – possible site for finale thanks to a seating capacity of 82,500
- Dallas (AT&T Stadium)
- Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
- Houston (NRG Stadium)
- Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- Seattle (Lumen Field)
- Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium)
- San Francisco Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium)
- Kansas City, Missouri (Arrowhead Stadium)
- Boston/Foxborough (Gillette Stadium)
- Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
- Vancouver (BC Place Stadium)
- Toronto (BMO Field)
- Mexico City (Azteca Stadium) – favored to host the opening match
- Guadalajara (Estadio Akron)
- Monterrey (BBVA Bancomer Stadium)
FIFA officials have not yet decided how the teams will be divided up. Originally, they discussed having 16 groups of teams in which each team would play two group games. The first two teams would then progress to the next round of 32. However, if the last two teams play out a specific result, it would send both teams through.
Now that the 2022 games are finished FIFA can better evaluate the success of the four-team group format of 12 groups of four which was deemed a success. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, “I have to say after this World Cup, and the success of the groups of four, we have to revisit or rediscuss the format whether we go for 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four.”
Another change in 2026 might involve the elimination of end-of-game draws that involve additional playing time. Instead, the games would end with a penalty shootout so there wouldn’t be any need for extra time.
“There are still some discussions to go on and we’ll certainly choose the best cities for the openings and the finals,” Infantino commented. “But every match will be like a final at this World Cup.”
No decision has yet been made regarding the 2030 World Cup but Uruguay is a front-runner thanks to the 100-year anniversary of the World Cup which was first hosted in Uruguay in 1930. Uruguay may team up with Argentina for the 2030 tournament though both Spain and Portugal would like to host as well. Another possibility is Saudi Arabia though, like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it would need to be played in the winter months because of the summer heat of the Middle East.