On Thursday, June 16, 2022, FIFA president Giovanni Infantino announced that matches in the upcoming men’s 2026 World Cup will be played right here in the U.S. If you’re a footie fan, stateside, this marks a momentous occasion. Even better, a select number of games during the 48-team World Cup tournament will be hosted at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Here’s everything we know so far.
The Men’s 2026 World Cup Will Be Held at MetLife Stadium
For the first time since 1994, the men’s World Cup will be held in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Locals might remember that the former Giants Stadium played host nearly three decades ago. Now, spectators will patiently wait for the world’s largest sporting event to return to NJ in 2026.
“Future generations of New Jerseyans will remember fondly that, on the heels of a global pandemic, the biggest sporting event in the world was hosted by the greatest region in the world,” said Governor Phil Murphy.
“In addition to building upon our lasting global legacy as a host region, we will also benefit from significant economic activity and impact, as well as opportunities to showcase the rich cultural diversity of our state,” he continued.
The site of the 2026 games will span across the United States, Canada and Mexico. There were 16 cities selected from the three nations—11 of which are located in the U.S. Additional cities include Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia and Seattle, to name a few. This is also the first time in World Cup history that there are three host countries.
Back in September 2021, FIFA representatives met with Governor Murphy to tour MetLife Stadium. The venue is one of the largest stadiums on the East Coast, with a total of 82,500 seats.
“On behalf of the New York Football Giants and New York Jets, we are honored to be selected as an official venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” added Ron VanDeVeen, MetLife Stadium President and CEO. “We look forward to hosting the world’s largest sporting event and welcoming the teams and their fans from around the globe to MetLife Stadium.”
Which World Cup Games Will Be Played in New Jersey?
While FIFA recently announced the 16 selected cities for the 2026 men’s World Cup, they have yet to establish which cities will host which games. There’s the championship, semifinal and quarterfinal, among other matches.
“As much as we want the early games, there is one game we want: We want the last game,” said Governor Murphy during a Thursday night watch party at Liberty State Park. “We want that World Cup trophy hoisted right here up the road in MetLife Stadium.”
Back in 1994, seven playoff games took place at Giants Stadium, including a semifinal match.
In addition to the upcoming matches that will be played at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey will also boast a number of FIFA Fan Festival™ sites. Known as “the greatest football party in the world,” spectators who are unable to attend the games will be able to cheer and watch alongside the World Cup in real-time at these different viewing locations.
As of now, a number of NJ training facilities are being looked at as potential FIFA Fan Festival™ sites. These include Rutgers University, The Pingry School, Kean University and Red Bull Football Club Training Facility.
When Is The 2026 Men’s World Cup?
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will begin and end during the summer of 2026. The qualification stage runs from 2023 to 2025. The exact dates, times and schedule of the men’s 2026 World Cup matches in NJ have to be announced. Tickets are not yet on sale but we’re totally looking forward to the traffic.
About the Author/s
Abby is The Digest's Managing Editor. She spends her time looking at dogs on Instagram and eating her way around Jersey City.