Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2026 World Cup final to take place at New Jersey MetLife Stadium : NPR

The 2026 World Cup final will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 19, FIFA announced on Sunday.

Seth Wenig/AP

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Seth Wenig/AP

The 2026 World Cup final will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 19, FIFA announced on Sunday.

Seth Wenig/AP

The 2026 World Cup final will take place at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium to cap a tournament set in cities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, soccer’s international governing body FIFA announced Sunday.

The final will be played on July 19 at the East Rutherford, N.J., stadium. Mexico City will host the opener of the 104-game tournament at Estadio Azteca on June 11.

During the event, though, the 82,500-capacity stadium will be officially referred to as the “New York New Jersey Stadium” to comply with the FIFA’s policy against non-sponsor corporate names.

It’s a World Cup of firsts. For the first time, the tournament will expand to include 48 teams, up from the 32 team-format held for the past seven tournaments. It will also be the first time the tournament is staged across three host nations. Beyond the New York-New Jersey complex, 15 other major cities were picked to host the World Cup matches.

MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and Giants, hosted the Super Bowl in 2014 and the Copa América Centenario final in 2016.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy celebrated the announcement on social media.

“As a lifelong soccer fan, I am thrilled to announce that the FIFA World Cup 2026 Final will be hosted by New Jersey and New York City!” Gov. Murphy said in a tweet.

When local officials first made their pitch to play host for the World Cup final, they emphasized the stadium’s proximity to New York City as a media hub with central access to hotels, restaurants, entertainment and international flights.

As for the U.S. Men’s National Team, they will have the fortune of sticking to the same time zone to start their World Cup journey. The team’s first match is at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium on June 12. After that, they’ll head to Seattle for their second match, before returning to LA for the final group play round on June 26.

“It’s great to finally learn where we will be for the group stage. It really starts to bring things to life,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said during a press conference. “We would have been happy with any of the venues because we know the home support is going to be incredible.”

Whether or not his team makes it to the final game, Berhalter — a New Jersey native — says of the venue pick: “It’s a dream come true for me.”

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