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New Jersey to host FIFA World Cup 2026 final; Mexico to stage opening match

New Delhi, Feb 5, 2024
Iconic New York New Jersey Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for the FIFA World Cup 26 final on July 19, 2026, the world soccer’s governing body FIFA announced as the schedule of the showpiece event revealed.

The 104-game tournament featuring 48 teams across 16 host cities is being co-hosted by three countries– the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“The iconic New York New Jersey venue was awarded the honour of hosting the showpiece fixture, which will bring the curtain down on the most inclusive FIFA tournament ever,” the FIFA statement read.

The stadium for the final, which has a capacity of 82,500, opened in 2010. The ground also was the venue for the final of the 2016 Copa America Centenario, when Chile defeated Lionel Messi’s Argentina on penalties.

FIFA World Cup 26 to kick-off on June 11, 2026 with hosts Mexico having the honour of getting the tournament under way in their capital city, kicking off proceedings in the historic venue which hosted the World Cup finals and opening games of 1970 and 1986.

Estadio Azteca Mexico City, which has a capacity of 83,000, will become the first stadium to host three FIFA World Cup opening matches.

Like Mexico City, Toronto and Los Angeles also host the opening matches of their respective national teams.

Canada will kick off their campaign in Toronto on June 12, 2026, while the United States will begin their journey on the same day in Los Angeles.

Miami to host the bronze final, Dallas and Atlanta to stage the highly anticipated semi-finals, while Dallas will host nine (9) matches, the most of any Host City at the tournament.

The match schedule ensures that three days of rest for teams is observed for 103 of the tournament’s 104 matches. Majority of matches to be played in three regionalised zones (east, central and west) to reduce travel for teams and fans.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “The most inclusive and impactful FIFA World Cup ever is no longer a dream but a reality that will take shape in the form of 104 matches in 16 state-of-the-art stadiums across Canada, Mexico and the USA.

From the opening match at the iconic Estadio Azteca to the spectacular final in New York New Jersey players and fans have been at the core of our extensive planning for this game-changing tournament.

“I would like to thank our three host countries and 16 Host Cities for the unwavering commitment to staging a FIFA World Cup that will not only set new records but also leave an indelible legacy.”

Match pairings and kick-off times will be confirmed following the Final Draw for FIFA World Cup 26, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2025.(Agency)

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