From the mythical Azteca stadium to New York: these are the venues for the 2026 World Cup
An aerial view of the Azteca stadium, in Mexico City.
An aerial view of the Azteca stadium, in Mexico City.Hector Vivas (Getty Images)

Soccer returns to the nest of glory. FIFA has announced the 16 cities that will host the 2026 World Cup spread, for the first time, in three different countries: the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Mexicans will celebrate hosting their third World Cup after those of 1970 and 1986 on the field where Pelé and Diego Armando Maradona excelled: the Azteca stadium.

The announcement of the future venues of the 20216 World Cup was made from the Rockefeller Center in New York in three geographical sections, east, center and west, from top to bottom, so as not to give priority to any of the three countries. In the Eastern region, the venues will be Vancouver, Canada; Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, in the US, and Guadalajara in Mexico. In the center, the chosen cities have been the American Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta and Houston, and the Mexican Monterrey, the steel giant, and Mexico City, with the emblematic Azteca stadium. In the east, Toronto (Canada) and the Americans Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and the twin candidacy of New York-New Jersey.

“It’s nice. Mexican fans are always at the World Cups. How soccer is lived in Mexico is something particular. It will be extraordinary”, said the Mexican star Hirving chucky Lozano, who is preparing to participate in the World Cup in Qatar this year, after the announcement. “[La sede de] Miami will be very exciting,” said American Christian Pulisic, who plays for Chelsea. Former soccer player Kikín Fonseca congratulated himself in a video recorded on the election of the Azteca stadium, “the cathedral of soccer.”

North America came together to flex muscle in front of the world. The United 2026 bid was the only one that pleased the FIFA leadership despite the fact that Morocco also competed unsuccessfully. The United States will be the country with the most cities by 2026, eleven in total. Their first experience hosting soccer was in 1994 when they transformed nine cities: Chicago, Dallas, Pontiac, Foxborough, Stanford, Orlando, East Rutherford, Washington DC and Pasadena, where the final between Brazil and Italy took place. In Canada, soccer has had its late takeoff. Only in 2019 did they inaugurate their first football league, and in 2022 they qualified for Qatar, their second participation in a World Cup after 1986.

The legacy, however, belongs to Mexico. The country organized the first World Cup to be broadcast in color and around the world in 1970. It was there that booking cards and substitutions were used for the first time. It was the beginning of the commercialization of football as it is known right now. there the canarinha of Pelé won what was his third World Cup (he has five in the showcases) and the so-called match of the century between Italy and West Germany (4-3), with five goals in extra time.

Sixteen years later, Maradona led the Albiceleste to win their second crown after moments of idyll for football fans: the most tricky and roguish goal in history, the God’s hand against England, and one of the most viewed goals of all time: the 2-1 against the English themselves. The cosmic kite It became a star on the lawn of the Azteca, built in 1966 for the 1968 Olympic Games and which is now being remodeled to build a shopping center and a hotel on one side in search of modernizing the space. The residents of that area, Santa Úrsula, have opposed the project.

The 2026 World Cup will have another unprecedented ingredient because the quota of participants will be increased from 32 teams to 48, which opens the spectrum for countries that have never qualified. It will also allow up to 80 matches to take place. “More and more countries in the world reach the star category necessary to participate in a World Cup,” congratulated Gianni Infantino, head of FIFA in the announcement.

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