The 2026 World Cup is expected to be an event like no other.
Held across North America joint hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first 48-team tournament in the event’s history.
With such a highly-anticipated tournament just four years away, fans are hoping to learn all they can about where and when each milestone event of the competition will take place. The central moment of the tournament will be the 2026 World Cup final, which will captivate audiences both in the United States and around the globe.
The Sporting News brings you all the latest information available regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup final, which has been scheduled for July 19, 2026.
The World Cup schedule is reportedly set to be released soon. The New York Times reported that the schedule will be released in October or November of this year, and both The Miami Herald and the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted FIFA on the record stating their goal is to have it made public “by the end of the year.”
Where is the 2026 World Cup final?
It’s currently unknown where the 2026 World Cup final will be held. FIFA announced on July 18, 2022 what venues would host matches for the tournament, but the specific matches assigned to those stadiums have not yet been officially determined.
However, there are thought to be a few stadiums still in contention to host the massive event. Reports indicate that SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles), AT&T Stadium (Dallas/Arlington), and MetLife Stadium (New York/New Jersey) are the leading candidates.
According to Jorge Ramos of ESPN Deportes in mid-August 2023, AT&T Stadium has the lead to host the 2026 World Cup final over the other two venues mentioned.
SoFi would be an ideal setting as one of the world’s most spectacular new venues. However, it would appear that SoFi has not only been eliminated from contention for the final, but they may not host any matches in the tournament at all. Reports emerged in fall of 2023 regarding a dispute between SoFi Stadium owner Stan Kroenke and FIFA over how to divide matchday revenue, and that has led to a falling out.
According to John Sutcliffe of ESPN Deportes in mid-October 2023, SoFi Stadium will not host any matches throughout the 2026 World Cup, sparking speculation around whether FIFA will replace the venue, and who might be in the mix. The Rose Bowl could be an iconic replacement to keep Los Angeles in the mix, or Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is closeby and widely acclaimed.
There are also a few iconic venues that will likely not be in contention for the prestigious honor.
One famous stadium that will not host the 2026 World Cup final is Estadio Azteca. FIFA announced that all matches in the knockout stage will be hosted in the United States, meaning the Mexico City stadium that has hosted two previous World Cup finals will not be in contention for selection.
The Rose Bowl was left off the final list of venues for matchday duty in the 2026 World Cup. While it could potentially make its way back into the tournament after the removal of SoFi Stadium, it’s highly unlikely that the old LA venue would then be suddenly in the running for the final. The massive Los Angeles stadium hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy, but was overshadowed by the brand new SoFi Stadium in the selection process.
What stadiums are in contention for the 2026 World Cup final?
It is thought there are two stadiums in the running for selection to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup final, according to reports.
- Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey (New York City market)
- Opened: 2010
- Capacity: 82,500
- Regular tenant: New York Giants, New York Jets
Unlike SoFi Stadium, MetLife Stadium is hardly a stunning sight to behold, nor does it provide a high-quality fan experience, looking more like a metal cage than anything else. But FIFA can’t turn New York down, and while MetLife isn’t exactly in the heart of the city, it’s close enough.
According a report earlier this year from the late independent journalist Grant Wahl, who tragically died covering the Qatar 2022 World Cup, in the run-up to the venue selection announcement in June 2022, MetLife was expected to be the host for the 2026 World Cup final. Since, however, other reports have challenged MetLife’s pedestal.
New York City mayor Eric Adams and New York governor Phil Murphy co-authored an article in Sportico detailing New York’s readiness to host the event, indicating they are not out of the running yet, but also signaling a need for a more mainstream PR push.
In January, 2024 ESPN reported that MetLife Stadium has reconfigured its bid to host the all-important match by proposing the removal of over 1,000 seats in order to better comply with FIFA’s pitch size standards.
- Location: Arlington, Texas (Dallas market)
- Opened: 2009
- Capacity: 80,000 (expandable to 105,000)
- Regular tenant: Dallas Cowboys
One of the most impressive and visually stunning stadiums in the United States, not to mention one of the largest, this venue’s inclusion was a must-have for FIFA and a no-brainer to get World Cup matches. However, its inclusion amongst the favorites to host the final was a surprise.
In September 2022, ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez shared a report by his ESPN colleague John Sutcliffe stating that the Dallas stadium would be hosting the World Cup final.
That report was premature, according to those in charge of the Dallas bid, but Sutcliffe would back up his report a year later, stating in October of 2023 that AT&T Stadium was still in line to host the match.
“We believe that Dallas is the perfect host for the 2026 World Cup,” said Dallas Sports Commission Executive Director Monica Paul in the wake of ESPN’s report. “FIFA has been an incredible partner every step of the bid process, and we expect a host city announcement in 2023. We’re thrilled that soccer fans across the world are eagerly awaiting word from FIFA.”
It would be a worthy venue. The retractable roof helps stave off the Texas heat, and the U.S. has history in the stadium as well. Dallas is a great market, and the stadium has hosted countless major events across all sports.
According to recent reports, SoFi Stadium is no longer in the running to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
- SoFi Stadium Location: Inglewood, California (Los Angeles market)
- Opened: 2020
- Capacity: 70,240
- Regular tenant: Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers
It was a surprise when the brand new SoFi Stadium was selected by FIFA to host matches, earning the honor over its more historically acclaimed neighbor the Rose Bowl.
Built just a few years ago, SoFi Stadium is one of the modern stadium marvels. A stunning multi-billion dollar structure, the sparkling new venue meant to house the pair of NFL franchises in Los Angeles is fit for a king. The centerpiece of the city’s successful 2028 Olympics bid, and its selection over the nearby Rose Bowl speaks volumes of its worthiness.
With the Rose Bowl out, SoFi Stadium was immediately considered a contender to host the World Cup final. However, there are concerns over the stadium’s field size, with very little room to extend the American football field beyond its 300ft length and 160ft width to the 345ft length and 223ft width recommended by FIFA for a pitch. While it has earned the right to host matches, the difficulties with configuration could prove problematic in a bid for the tournament’s crowning match.
Furthermore, there are recent reports that tensions have raised between SoFi Stadium owner Stan Kroenke and FIFA over how matchday revenue will be divided between the various parties, throwing the stadium’s inclusion in the World Cup schedule in doubt.
Amidst all this uncertainty, the New York Times has reported that SoFi Stadium is no longer in the running for the 2026 World Cup final, and the decision comes down to either New York or Dallas. Furthermore, John Sutcliffe of ESPN Deportes stated that SoFi may not host any matches at the 2026 World Cup at all.
When is the 2026 World Cup final?
The official dates for the 2026 World Cup are unknown, but there are early reports for this as well.
A quick Google search displays a World Cup timeframe of Monday, June 8 — Friday, July 3, although it’s unclear where that information is sourced from. Those dates are also reflected on the right-hand Wikipedia snapshot panel, although a closer look at the Wikipedia page for the 2026 World Cup shows that no dates are reflected, so again it’s unclear where Google is obtaining those dates.
That would suggest that the World Cup final takes place on Friday, July 3, 2026. That would be a break from the norm, as the World Cup final has historically been held on a Sunday.
Past World Cup final venues
Hosting a World Cup final has been a prestigious honor bestowed upon some of the most famous venues across the globe.
Only two stadiums have ever hosted multiple World Cup finals, with Estadio Azteca in Mexico becoming the first, followed by the Maracana Stadium in Brazil.
The highest attendance ever for a World Cup final was 173,850 at the 1950 event. This will likely never be bested for stadiums as we know them, as modern safety protocols and ticketing procedures will prevent such a number from ever seeing a football match in person.
The 2022 World Cup final in Qatar saw 88,966 fans attend – the highest number 1994.
* Attendance figures via Wikipedia
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Mexico City, Mexico
|Munich, West Germany
|Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Mexico City, Mexico
|Pasadena, United States
|Stade de France
|Johannesburg, South Africa
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil