The 2026 World Cup: What we know so far


The 2026 World Cup will look a whole lot different from previous iterations of the tournament, thanks to the fact that it will be hosted by three countries — the United States, Mexico and Canada — and expanded to 48 teams for the first time. There are still a bunch of questions that have yet to be answered, and perhaps won't be answered for a number of years, but here's what we know so far:

How will the games be split up?

As it stands now, 60 games will be played in the United States, with Mexico and Canada hosting 10 each. That isn't set in stone, however.

"They have made a decision among themselves but ultimately it will be up to FIFA to decide," FIFA President Gianni Infantino told reporters Wednesday.

To cut down on travel, the U.S.-led bid proposed having teams play all their games in the same regional areas. The United States will host every match from the quarterfinals forward, with the proposed final to be held at MetLife Stadium outside New York City.

The U.S. metro areas in the running are Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium), Denver (Sports Authority Field), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl and the new NFL stadium), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium), Orlando (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Jose (Levi's Stadium), Seattle (Century Link Field) and Washington (FedEx Field). Eleven of those locations likely will be chosen, with a decision likely two years away.

Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City are up for consideration in Mexico, while Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton are the Canadian cities that have been proposed.

How many teams will participate?

For the first time, the World Cup will feature 48 teams after FIFA voted to expand the tournament in January 2017. Here's how the bids will be parceled out:

UEFA (Europe): 16

CAF (Africa): 9

AFC (Asia/Middle East): 8

CONCACAF (North and Central America/Caribbean): 6

CONMEBOL (South America): 6

OFC (Oceania): 1

Playoff: 2

Five teams from every confederation except for UEFA, plus one additional team from CONCACAF, will take part in an intercontinental playoff tournament to determine the final two slots. The two highest-ranked teams according to FIFA's rankings will receive byes, while the other four will play knockout games. Then the remaining four teams will play, with the winners securing the final two spots in the tournament. The intercontinental playoff will be held somewhere in the United States, Canada or Mexico, perhaps in November 2025.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

With Texas secondary swarming the field, 18th-ranked Longhorns gaining steam, confidence
With Texas secondary swarming the field, 18th-ranked Longhorns gaining steam, confidence

Texas cornerback Kris Boyd sure seemed rather demure in the aftermath of Saturday’s 31-16 win over TCU. Never mind the fact he broke up two passes in the end zone for potential TCU touchdowns. He was particularly incensed about Shawn Robinson’s back-shoulder throw to Jalen Reagor that allowed the Horned Frogs...
Texas 31, No. 17 TCU 16: Five key plays
Texas 31, No. 17 TCU 16: Five key plays

Bohls: Texas very deserving of new Top 25 ranking

Texas is back. In the Associated Press Top 25, at least. And that’s a start. The Longhorns returned to the AP Poll, showing up at a worthy No. 18 after thumping 17th-ranked TCU 31-16 by scoring the final three touchdowns of the game. Texas beat a ranked team for the second consecutive week, the first time it’s done that since...
Darío Conca adds South American mystique to Austin Bold FC
Darío Conca adds South American mystique to Austin Bold FC

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi … Darío Conca? The newest Austin Bold FC signing is the answer to a modern soccer trivia stumper. Conca was once the world’s third highest-paid player, after Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande dipped into South America to sign the Argentine midfielder in 2011. His reported salary that...
Quarterback issues trouble Texas State in 25-21 loss at UTSA
Quarterback issues trouble Texas State in 25-21 loss at UTSA

Texas State quarterback Willie Jones III was knocked out of the game on the Bobcats’ second drive, and UTSA took home the “I-35 Showdown” for the third time with a 25-21 win Saturday night. The Bobcats (1-3) used three quarterbacks in all. After Jones left with a shoulder injury, backup Jaylen Gipson played for two series before then...
More Stories