Infantino said the joint World Cup would be superior in every way to the 1994 finals in the United States
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has warned Canada, Mexico and the United States to prepare for a “soccer invasion” after unveiling the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup on Thursday.
The inaugural edition of the World Cup, hosted by three different countries, will also see a record number of teams participating, as the number increased from 32 to 48 teams with the return of football to North America for the first time since the 1994 finals.
Of the 16 stadiums identified, 11 are in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada.
All American games are held in the stadiums of the American Football Clubs (NFL), with nominations for the final being held at one of the $5 billion “Sofi Stadium” in Los Angeles, or the “MetLife” stadium of the United States. “New York’ team. The Giants, which seats 82,000, is located in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Sixty of the 80 finals, including all playoffs from the quarter-finals onwards, are played in stadiums in the United States of America.
Mexico City’s famous “Azteca” stadium, which hosted the last matches of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, was filmed in three Mexican stadiums, along with the cities of Monterrey and Guadalajara.
Vancouver and Toronto host Canadian matches in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Infantino indicated that the 2026 World Cup would surpass the 1994 final in the United States, which holds the record for the highest attendance, in every way.
“The 2026 World Cup will be much bigger,” said the Swiss-Italian. I think this part of the world doesn’t know what will happen in the year 2026. These three countries will be turned upside down and then upside down again. The world will conquer Canada, Mexico and the United States. They will be overwhelmed by a great wave of joy and happiness.”
Part of the celebrations of the fans to the names of the host countries (AB)
Infantino expressed the hope that the World Cup would stimulate the further development of football in the region.
And he added: “In this part of the world you lead the world in many areas. But in the number one sport in the world, football, I am not yet a leader.” “The goal should be to lead the world in the world’s number one sport,” he added.
No decision has yet been made on the stadiums where important matches such as the World Cup final and the opening match will take place.
“We have yet to discuss it, we have yet to analyze it,” Infantino said. We will make a decision in due course.”
However, Infantino revealed that given the large geographic area to host the finals in North America, where some cities are 4,000 km apart, FIFA was looking for teams in regional “groups” to reduce travel.
“When we’re dealing with a big region like North America, we need to take care of the fans and make sure the teams play in groups so that fans and teams don’t have to travel crazy distances,” FIFA said. chair. †
The list of US stadiums stretches from coast to coast and includes many of the cities that hosted matches during the 1994 World Cup.
Nevertheless, none of the stadiums where matches were played in 1994 will be on the list of stadiums for the 2026 World Cup.
Other sites include the Dallas Cowboys’ massive AT&T Arena in Arlington, Texas, and the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Arena in Florida. It’s worth noting that seven of the 11 stadiums listed on Thursday have previously hosted the “Super Bowl” final in American football.
Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs, the noisiest stadium in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, was among the selected stadiums.
The NFL stadiums in Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston and Philadelphia were also on the list.
Washington, DC, was not on the list, however. This means that the 2026 finals will be the first World Cup finals since the 1974 finals, which were held in West Germany at the time, not counting the host country’s capital.
FIFA’s head of leagues and events, Colin Smith, acknowledged Washington’s absence following an “incredibly competitive” nomination process.
“It was a very difficult choice,” Smith said. It’s hard to imagine the World Cup coming to the United States and the capital not playing a big role.”
Meanwhile, Smith noted that some NFL stadiums will require minor adjustments to expand “pressure points” but said stadium capacity would not be affected.
“The number of fans who will be able to experience this World Cup will probably be double what we had before,” he said. The 1994 World Cup has the attendance record, but it won’t be like that anymore.”