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When is the next World Cup? Host countries, format and more

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The 2026 FIFA World Cup will break new ground as world football’s biggest tournament expands its format.

After a first-ever winter World Cup hosted in Qatar in 2022, the next edition of the finals will also see a series of firsts, as three nations host the games in a 48-team competition.

The increase in competing teams will rise from the 32-team format of recent tournaments, with 12 groups of four teams. The top two teams from each group automatically qualify for the Round of 32, alongside the eight best third-placed teams.

Where will the next World Cup take place?

The United States, Canada and Mexico will co-host the 2026 World Cup, in a footballing festival across North and Central America.

Of the 16 cities that will host World Cup games, 11 will be in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada. Each of the host nations will play their group stage games on home soil.

2026 World Cup – Host Cities: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Guadalajara, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Monterrey, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver.

The opening fixture will be in Mexico, held at the legendary Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on June 11.

From the quarter-finals onwards, all games will be in the USA with the final to be hosted in New York on July 19, 2026. The venue for the final is The MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home of American Football sides the New York Giants and Jets. With a capacity of 82,500, the stadium held the SuperBowl in 2014.

Teams will be based in one of the three regions for group games, to avoid excessive travelling for players and fans.

Who are the favourites to win the next World Cup?

Much can change in the two years leading up to a World Cup tournament, though Brazil have been installed as early favourites for the crown.

The five-time world champions disappointed in Qatar last time out and have made a poor start to their qualification campaign, but will be heavily-backed for success in 2026. The Selecao won the last World Cup hosted in the United States in 1994.

France are currently second favourites and reached the 2022 final, where Les Bleus lost to Argentina in the decider. The holders are fourth-favourites, behind England, with Lionel Messi having ruled himself out of featuring in 2026.

Where will the 2030 and 2034 World Cups be held?

FIFA have big plans for the 20230 World Cup with games set to be hosted by six countries and three different continents. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the World Cup, FIFA are keen for a multi-nation finals that will kick off in South America with games held in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, the latter of which hosted the first tournament in 1930.

From there, Spain, Portugal and Morocco will take over hosting duties, having won the vote to host the tournament.

No host has been confirmed for 2034 despite the bidding process being underway, with Saudi Arabia the favourites. FIFA have confirmed that only bids from Asia and Oceania will be considered.

Read – Noughties Nines: Miroslav Klose – World Cup icon

See more – Messi, Qatar, and the fulfilment of a football fairytale

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