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World Cup 2026: USA, Canada & Mexico cities set to host soccer finals

The 2026 World Cup is to take place in venues across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The joint bid for the tournament was announced in 2017 and beat the only other challenger, Morocco, the following year.

An initial list of 45 venues in 41 cities has been cut to 23 venues, each in their own city or metropolitan area.

In June 2020, the final selection of 16 host cities for the tournament will be made with 10 in the USA and three each in Canada and Mexico. The six Canadian and Mexican venues have already been confirmed.

From as far north as Edmonton, Alberta to as far south as Mexico City, the tournament is set to be a wide-ranging one.

But which cities are still in the mix, and which stadiums will the World Cup be played in? Goal explains all.

USA

There are 17 arenas being considered in the USA, to be cut to a final list of 10.

The current biggest stadium – expansions notwithstanding – of the remaining 23 is the 92,000-seater Rose Bowl in Pasadena, north-east Los Angeles.

The Rose Bowl already has a proud football history having hosted the 1994 World Cup final and the 1999 Women’s World Cup final, as well as the 1984 Olympic gold medal match.

Rose Bowl Stadium Pasadena

Currently smaller in size but expandable past 100,000 seats is the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, a retractable-roof stadium which is home to NFL side Dallas Cowboys.

There are two further stadiums over the 80,000-seater mark in the US portion of the bid; the MetLife Stadium in New York City, and the FedExField in Washington D.C.

When opened in 2010, the MetLife was the most expensive stadium ever built, while in recent years the FedExField has been a regular venue for International Champions Cup matches.

One of the more striking stadiums on the list is the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home of MLS Eastern Conference runners-up Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons NFL side. The stadium opened as recently as 2017, with work on the retractable roof finishing the following year.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta

However, there are still four more American stadiums which currently beat it in terms of capacity.

With the Atlanta ground currently holding 71,000, the Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium holds 76,416 and the Empower Field at Mile High, Denver holds 76,125.

Houston’s 71,795-seater NRG stadium was the first in the NFL to have a retractable roof, while the Baltimore Ravens’ 71,006-seater M&T Bank Stadium also hosts university lacrosse alongside its various American football events.

The CenturyLink Field, another of the more unique-looking stadiums in the running, is home to 2019 MLS Cup champions the Seattle Sounders. In 2014, the crowd there was clocked at an incredible 137.6 decibels – breaking their own world record for the loudest crowd noise at an outdoor stadium.

CenturyLink Field Seattle

While both currently accommodate below the 70,000 mark, both the Nissan Stadium in Nashville and the Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco are expandable to 75,000 seats.

That leaves four more stadiums in the US selection; the Gillette Stadium in Boston, Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and the Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Mexico

The three host venues in Mexico have already been decided.

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium is one of the most historic football venues in the world, the first stadium to host two World Cup finals – in 1970 and 1986.

The Azteca has recently been renovated, leading to a reduced capacity which still hits 87,000.

Two legendary World Cup moments are commemorated at the Azteca. Diego Maradona’s ‘Goal of the Century’ – and indeed the 'Hand of God' – was scored there against England in 1986, 16 years after Italy’s 4-3 win over West Germany in the ‘Game of the Century’ in the 1970 semi-final.

The Estadio BBVA in Monterrey is already a viral favourite, its scenic mountainous surroundings likely to make it popular among World Cup photographers.

Estadio BBVA Bancomer Monterrey

It was opened in 2015 and has already been expanded since, meaning it now holds 53,500 fans.

The smallest of the three Mexican venues is the 46,232-seater Estadio Akron in Guadalajara.

Home to Chivas, one of Mexico’s most successful clubs, the stadium used to draw criticism for its artificial turf pitch but has now had natural grass since 2012.

Canada

As with Mexico, the three Canadian venues for the tournament are already confirmed.

The largest of the trio is the stunning Olympic Stadium in Montreal, with a current capacity just over 61,000.

The Olympic Stadium is expected to add a retractable roof before 2026, and has already hosted a number of Women’s World Cup matches and a Concacaf Champions League final.

Olympic Stadium Montreal

The Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta holds more than 55,000 people and was built as the primary venue for the 1978 Commonwealth Games.

Considerably smaller is the BMO Field in Toronto. Currently holding 30,000, its capacity is expected to rise by around 50 per cent by 2026.

Used as the venue for more than one MLS Cup final, it is home to Toronto FC, a club known for their boisterous fan culture.