A Look Ahead to the FIFA World Cup 2026

Held across North America and joint hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup.




FIFA World Cup 2026


It seems like only yesterday that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was using every trick in the book to put off the French players and lead Argentina to a 4-2 penalty kick win in the World Cup Final. Yet, that incredible evening in Lusail Stadium was over a year ago, with fans now starting to look forward and wonder what the 2026 tournament might have in store.

The Full Details of the Dates and Venues

The 23rd World Cup will start in July 2026 and run through to July 19. The venues will be split across North America, with 11 in the US, three in Mexico, and two in Canada. Few of the stadiums being used were designed specifically for football with many being adapted NFL or CFL stadiums.

According to the latest reports, the AT&T Stadium in Texas is the leading contender for hosting the final. However, the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the MetLife in New Jersey are among the other possible venues for this historic occasion. The full schedule should be released by the end of 2024.

A New Expanded Format

The 2026 World Cup will be the first time the tournament has 48 teams. This is an increase from the 32 who took part in Qatar in 2022 and sees the event return to the traditional northern hemisphere summer schedule of the past. The very first World Cup - held in 1930 in Uruguay - had only 13 teams in it.

This increase in the number of teams was agreed unanimously by the FIFA Council back in 2017, with future World Cups to carry on with this expanded format. We’ll see the 48 teams get split into 16 groups of three teams, with the top two countries in each group moving through to the knockout stage which starts with 32 teams in it.

Who Has Qualified?

While it’s still early days to see who will be taking part in the 2026 World Cup, we already know the names of three of the countries that will be there. That’s because the three hosts ( the US, Mexico, and Canada) are automatically given entry to the tournament without having to qualify. The other 32 teams in the CONCACAF group battle for three direct slots.

Argentina needs to go through the qualification stage like every other nation, despite winning the 2022 World Cup. They take part in the CONMEBOL group, which they’re already leading after games started in mid-2023. The European teams taking part in the UEFA qualifying will take the largest number of slots, with 16 allocated to them. The final spots will be taken by two of the six teams who play in the intercontinental play-off stage.

Who are the favorites to get through their group stages and reach North America, though? If you like the idea of online betting in Canada on upcoming soccer games, you can look through the upcoming matches and bet on them. The next qualifiers in September 2024 are going to be important for South American teams like Brazil, who are among the favorites to win in 2026 but need good results against Ecuador and Paraguay when their stuttering campaign resumes.

Alternatively, you could look ahead to the finals in 2026 and place an early wager on who you think the outright winner will be. Expect to see the odds move over time according to form and other factors. The following are some of the teams leading the current odds.

Can Argentina Win Again?

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"FIFA World Cup 2022 - Final - Argentina" (Public Domain) by footpicshd

It’s easy to imagine Argentina should be favorites to win in 2026, given that they’re the current holders and are leading their qualification group. However, there’s a huge question over whether their captain and best player Lionel Messi will be present in North America. He’s still regarded as the world’s best player scored for Argentina in the first qualifying games, but at 36 years old currently, he might retire before 2026.

Will France Go One Better in 2026?

2022’s beaten finalists, France has won the World Cup twice and is favorite to triumph in 2026 right now. Kylian Mbappé scored a memorable hat-trick in the final against Argentina, meaning that he holds the record for most goals scored in World Cup finals, having also scored in 2018 against Croatia.

Brazil to Get Back to Winning Ways?

Brazil is the team that many neutrals want to see win the trophy. They’ve been disappointed in recent World Cups and 2026 probably gives Neymar his final chance to win it. Now playing in Saudi Arabia with Al Hilal, Neymar is one of only three Brazilians to score in three World Cups, alongside Pelé and Ronaldo.

England to Finally Win Their Second World Cup?

We need to go back to 1966 to find England winning this event for the only time. Despite boasting a string of top players over the years, a second success has always eluded them. They got to the final of the 2020 European Championships before losing to Italy on penalties but lost to France in the quarter-final stage in 2022.

2026 still seems a long time away, but by taking a look at the next World Cup, we can start to feel the excitement of what is sure to be another memorable sporting event.




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