MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to host the 2026 World Cup final

CNNThe final match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will play out at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the global soccer governing body announced Sunday.

The tournament, which is being held in the United States, Canada and Mexico, is set to kick off in Mexico City at the Estadio Azteca with the opening match on June 11, 2026. The final will be July 19.

The schedule will consist of 104 matches as the tournament has been expanded to 48 national teams from 32.

“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,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

MetLife Stadium can hold up to 82,500 fans, according to the facility’s website. Last year, Arsenal and Manchester United played a preseason match there in front of a soccer record crowd of 82,262 people.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a self-professed lifelong soccer fan, said he was thrilled the final was coming to his state.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our entire region; hosting the Final provides NYNJ an unparalleled platform to brilliantly showcase what we stand for — diversity, equality, access, and inclusion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Canada will host its first-ever men’s FIFA World Cup match in Toronto at BMO Field on June 12, 2026, with the Canadian squad taking on a yet to be named opponent.

While the host nations are automatically placed into the finals, the remaining 45 spots won’t be determined until March 2025 at the earliest.

The first match on US soil will be at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on June 12, 2026. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has previously hosted three World Cup finals in the men’s and women’s tournaments in 1994, 1999 and 2003.

Mexico and Canada will play their group stage matches on home soil, while the US team will play each of its group stage matches on the West Coast in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Arlington, near the Dallas area, and Atlanta will be the host cities for the two semifinal matches. Both stadiums have roofs that can be open or closed.

The Boston metro area, Los Angeles, Miami and Kansas City, Missouri, will each host a quarterfinal match. The match for third place will be held at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium the day before the final.

This is the first time the World Cup is being hosted by three nations. The complete list of the 16 host cities was announced in June.

FIFA said in a news release announcing the fixture dates the “innovative 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.”

Mexico City has previously hosted the World Cup finals matches in 1970 and 1986. The Estadio Azteca, which is set to undergo some renovations before 2026, will be the first stadium to host a third opening match of the finals.

CNN’s Steve Almasy and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.