Where will 2026 World Cup be held and how many teams will be there?

The next edition will be staged across three countries with a huge increase in number of teams and matches

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The 2022 Qatar World Cup turned out to be a spectacular success on every parameter, culminating in one of the greatest ever finals in the history of the tournament.

After a lot of apprehension over the staging of a mega tournament like the World Cup in small nation like Qatar, the tournament eventually went off smoothly with fans and teams enjoying state-of-the-art facilities, great hospitality and a slice of Arab culture.

Such was the positive response from a thrilling group stage, Morocco's incredible run and overall quality of football, Fifa president Gianni Infantino called it the "best World Cup ever".

While celebrations in Argentina will go on for days after Lionel Messi's inspiring effort in the final, the focus has already started to shift to the next tournament.

Where will the 2026 Fifa World Cup be held?

The 2022 World Cup was celebrated for its compact size - staged at eight stadiums in and around the Qatari capital of Doha and all around within an hours' drive from each other. However, the 2026 World Cup is set to stand out for its size, number of teams and travel involved.

The next World Cup will be held across three host nations - the United States, Canada and Mexico. It is the first time the finals has been split across three countries.

Matches will be held in 16 host cities - 11 in the US, three in Mexico and two in Canada.

All of the US games will be held in venues used by NFL teams, with stadiums such as the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the New York Giants' 82,500-seater MetLife Stadium.

How many teams will participate in the 2026 World Cup?

Everything about this World Cup is going to be massive. Fifa has announced that the American World Cup will have 48 teams, up from 32 in Qatar.

The 16-team increase marks the biggest expansion in the World Cup's evolution.

The biggest beneficiaries of the expansion will be Africa and Asia. Under the new format, Africa will receive nine qualifying slots for the finals, compared to five previously, while Asia will nearly double to eight from 4.5 spots.

How many matches will played and what is the format?

After the success of the four-team group format in Qatar, Fifa are planning to retain that formula. That would mean 12 groups of four, with the top two teams advancing to the knockout rounds along with the eight best third-place finishers.

That format would also mean a total of 104 matches, a huge jump from 64 in Qatar.

Full list of World Cup 2026 venues and their capacity


SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles. Capacity 70,000

MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. Capacity 82,500

AT&T Stadium, Dallas. Capacity 80,000

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami. Capacity 65,000

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City. Capacity 76,000

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta. Capacity 71,000

Gillette Stadium, Boston. Capacity 65,000

NRG Stadium, Houston. Capacity 72,000

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia. Capacity 67,000

Levi's Stadium, San Francisco Bay Area. Capacity 68,000

Lumen Field, Seattle. Capacity 72,000


Azteca Stadium, Mexico City. Capacity 87,000

Estadio Akron, Guadalajara. Capacity 46,000

Estadio BBVA, Monterrey. Capacity 51,000


BMO Field, Toronto. Capacity 30,000

BC Place, Vancouver. Capacity 54,000

What will travel be like?

Travel between venues is likely to be the biggest headache for organisers, teams and fans. The distance between some of the venues within USA and also to stadiums in Canada and Mexico is around 5,000km. Fifa boss Infantino had said the governing body was looking at basing teams in regional "clusters" to minimise travel.

Even with certain systems in place, the 2026 World Cup is likely to be a huge challenge not only for the teams and travelling fans, but also for the viewing public as American time zone is likely to prove a stumbling block for the main football markets.

Updated: December 22, 2022, 8:13 AM