On Thursday, nearly four years to the day after it was announced that the men’s FIFA World Cup would be returning to the United States and Mexico (and coming to Canada for the first time) in 2026, 16 host cities are soon to be announced as venues for the first-ever 48-team tournament.
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The announcement will be made in New York City and is expected to be made sometime during the 5 pm ET hour.
PST will be updating this story as the announcement is made and the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup are revealed…
Which 16 venues were selected as host cities for the 2026 World Cup?
2026 World Cup format and qualification
First and foremost, as host nations, the USA, Canada and Mexico will all automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
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The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament featuring 48 teams split in 16 groups of three. Each team will play two group stage games (down one from three), with the 1st- and 2nd-place finishers advancing to the round of 32.
The idea — aside from creating additional games to increase television and ticket revenue — is that one round of group stage games is eliminated and replaced by an additional round of elimination games in the knockout rounds. Given that the final round of group games can carry very little, or even no, weight pending earlier results, the new format will guarantee that nearly every game at the 2026 World Cup is hugely consequential.
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Yes, FIFA will make a lot more money by changing the format, but fans will also be treated to a better quality product, from beginning to end, with even more global superstars from “lesser” national teams than ever before.
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2026 World Cup venues: Which cities will host in USA, Canada, Mexico? originally appeared on NBCSports.com