Infantino said the Joint World Cup would be better in every way than the 1994 final in the United States.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has warned Canada, Mexico and the United States to prepare for a football “invasion”, following Thursday’s unveiling of the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
The first edition of the World Cup, hosted by three different countries, will also see a record number of participating teams, as the number has increased from 32 to 48 teams with the return of football to North America for the first time since the final of 1994.
Of the 16 stadiums identified, 11 are in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada.
All U.S. matches will be held in the stadiums of the American Football Clubs (NFL), with nominations for the final taking place at one of the five billion dollar “Sofi Stadium” in Los Angeles, or the “MetLife” stadium of the “New York” The Giants, with seating for 82,000, are located in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Sixty of the 80 games in the final, including all playoff games starting from the quarterfinals, will be played in stadiums in the United States.
The famous “Azteca” Stadium in Mexico City, which hosted the last matches of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, has been included in three Mexican stadiums, along with the cities of Monterrey and Guadalajara.
Vancouver and Toronto will host Canadian matches in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Infantino has indicated that the 2026 World Cup will in all respects surpass the 1994 final in the United States, which holds the record for highest attendance.
“The 2026 World Cup will be much bigger,” said the Swiss Italian. I think this part of the world does not know what is going to happen in the year 2026. These three countries will be turned upside down and then upside down again. The world will conquer Canada, Mexico and the United States. They will be overwhelmed by a great wave of joy and happiness. ”
Part of the fans’ celebrations to announce the names of the host countries (AB).
Infantino expressed its hope that the World Cup will stimulate further development of football in the region.
And he added: “In this part of the world, you are leading the world in many areas. But in the number one sport in the world, football, I am not yet a leader. ” “The goal should be to lead the world in the world’s number one sport,” he added.
No decision has been made about the stadiums that will host important matches such as the World Cup final and the opening match.
“We still have to discuss it, we still have to analyze it,” Infantino said. We will make a decision at the right time. ”
However, Infantino revealed that given the wide geographical area to organize the finals across North America, where some cities are 4,000 km apart, FIFA sought to form teams into regional “groups” to reduce travel.
“When dealing with a large region like North America, we need to take care of the fans and make sure the teams play in groups so that fans and teams do not have to travel crazy distances,” the FIFA official said. president said.
The list of American stadiums stretches from coast to coast, and includes many of the cities that hosted matches at the 1994 World Cup.
Nevertheless, none of the stadiums that hosted matches in 1994 will be on the list of stadiums for the 2026 World Cup.
Other venues include the Dallas Cowboys ‘massive AT&T Arena in Arlington, Texas, and the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Arena in Florida. It is noteworthy that seven of the 11 stadiums named Thursday previously hosted the “Super Bowl” final in American football.
Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs, which according to the Guinness Book of Records is the noisiest stadium in the world, was among the selected stadiums.
The NFL stadiums in Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston and Philadelphia were also on the list.
However, there was no place for Washington, DC on the list. This means that the 2026 final will be the first World Cup final since 1974, and was held in West Germany at the time, not including the capital of the host country.
Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief competition and event official, acknowledged Washington’s absence following an “incredibly competitive” nomination process.
“It was a very difficult choice,” Smith said. “It’s hard to imagine that the World Cup in the United States and the capital will not play a big role.”
Meanwhile, Smith noted that some NFL stadiums will need minor modifications to expand “pressure points,” but said stadium capacity will not be affected.
“The number of fans who will be able to experience this World Cup will probably be twice what we had before,” he said. The 1994 World Cup holds the record for attendance, but that will no longer be the case. “