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    When FIFA boss Infantino raves, the world shakes


    2026 World Cup will be “epic”
    When FIFA boss Infantino raves, the world shakes

    World champions crowned in New Jersey, opening in Mexico City: FIFA has published the schedule for the mammoth 2026 World Cup – huge challenges await. No problem for FIFA boss Gianni Infantino. He's once again raving about it and won't stop.

    Gianni Infantino chose superlatives, of course he did. With the “biggest announcement in the history of announcements”, the FIFA President proudly presented the enormous framework for the mammoth 2026 World Cup and revealed the two most exciting secrets: the football world champion will be crowned in New Jersey, and the opening match on June 11 will take place in the venerable Aztec Stadium in Mexico City. Many other questions remain unanswered, and huge challenges await.

    Infantino was nonetheless full of enthusiasm. “This final in 2026, on July 19, 2026, will be epic. It will be fabulous,” he said of the match at MetLife Stadium of the New York football clubs Jets and Giants, where a successor to Argentina will be sought in two and a half years. It is “something unique” to “celebrate and unite the world” in a “city as cosmopolitan” as New York.

    The stadium in East Rutherford has space for 82,500 spectators in the football league. In addition to the final, it will serve as the venue for seven other matches. The duel for third place will take place one day before the final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

    For Infantino it’s all about players and fans

    104 matches, 39 days, 16 venues: The first mega World Cup with 48 teams in the United States, Mexico and Canada is not only setting standards in terms of size, but is also facing almost insurmountable hurdles. Infantino promised the football world “104 Super Bowls in one month” at a live show from Miami, where FIFA announced its plans to the world late Sunday evening with the help of rapper Drake and reality star Kim Kardashian. The “extensive planning” would focus on “players and fans”.

    Really? After all, the strain on spectators and teams is increasing immensely. The games are played in three groups: “West, Central and East” in four different time zones. The long journeys could put individual teams at a competitive disadvantage. The expected summer heat in many North American cities is also a cause for concern. The time at which the games will take place will only be decided after the draw – also and above all due to the TV markets.

    Last year, FIFA quickly changed the format for its 23rd World Cup finals. There will be twelve groups of four in the preliminary round, the eight best third-placed teams will also advance, and an intermediate round will take place before the round of 16. On the way to the World Cup title, eight matches will have to be played instead of the previous seven. This is just what Infantino, who has secured his power at the top of FIFA for years through record TV revenues, is happy about.

    Premiere for Canada

    With the opening match, the Aztec Stadium in Mexico's capital will be the first arena to host three finals. Both the 1986 World Cup, with the famous “Hand of God” by Argentina's legend Diego Maradona in the quarter-finals against England, and the 1970 finals, with Germany's “Game of the Century” in the semi-finals against Italy, took place there.

    The semifinals will be played in football arenas with retractable roofs in Atlanta and Arlington/Texas, the quarterfinals in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Miami and Boston. With nine games, the AT&T Stadium near the Texas metropolis of Dallas is also the venue with the most matches.

    The USA has the most arenas, with eleven stadiums. There are three venues in Mexico, and in Canada there is Toronto and Vancouver. While Mexico is hosting the Men's World Cup for the third time and the USA for the second time, Canada is celebrating its premiere.

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