2026 world cup schedule everything we know about locations dates times teams tickets and more

2026 World Cup schedule: Everything we know about locations, dates, times, teams, tickets and more

The 2026 World Cup schedule, or at least its foundational “shell,” has arrived. FIFA revealed key details, locations and dates on Sunday. The 16 North American cities and stadiums selected to host the tournament can now ramp up toward an unparalleled spectacle.

But the schedule is maddeningly complex, more so than any other World Cup schedule ever constructed. Hundreds of puzzle pieces are still missing, and some won’t be in place until after the 2026 World Cup draw, likely in December 2025.

Here is what we know and don’t yet know about the 2026 schedule, plus the thinking and processes behind it.

What do we know about the 2026 World Cup schedule?

We know the “when,” “where” and “what type” for all 104 games.

We know that the tournament will open June 11 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and conclude July 19 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

We know dates and locations for the semifinals (Atlanta and Arlington, Texas), quarterfinals (Miami, Kansas City, Inglewood, California, and Foxborough, Massachusetts) and so on. We know that 78 of the 104 games will be held in the U.S., with 13 apiece in Canada and Mexico.

The entire schedule is here and below.

What don’t we know?

We don’t know the “who” or the “what, specifically,” or the “what time.”

With the exception of the three co-hosts, teams won’t be placed in cities until December 2025 — the target date for the World Cup draw — after most or all have qualified.

Kickoff times also won’t be set until after the draw.

When and where will the 2026 World Cup start?

It begins Thursday, June 11, 2026, with two games in Mexico.

On Friday, June 12, Canada will play its opener at BMO Field in Toronto, and the U.S. will play its opener at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

So we already know where the USMNT will play?

Yep. The U.S. men’s national team will play:

  • June 12 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California

  • June 19 at Lumen Field in Seattle

  • June 25 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California

Canada will play in Toronto, then twice in Vancouver. Mexico will play in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and then back in Mexico City.

Why is the USMNT staying on the West Coast?

To mitigate travel. Most teams will stay in one of three distinct regions. More on that below.

When will we learn their opponents? When is the 2026 World Cup draw?

In December 2025 or thereabouts. FIFA’s official projection is “towards the end of 2025.”

What’s the format?

The 48 teams will be drawn into 12 groups of four.

The top two in each group, plus the eight best third-place teams, will advance to the Round of 32 — the first of five single-elimination knockout rounds.

FIFA settled on this plan after scrapping its original, ill-fated format in 2023.

How will FIFA fit 104 games into 39 days?

This is the first 48-team World Cup. The 2026 group stage, therefore, will be the longest and busiest ever. After host-country openers, the first two weeks will feature four games per day. The final four days of group play will each feature six.

After the 17-day group phase, on June 28, the Round of 32 will begin immediately — and the Round of 16 immediately after that, with no days off. There’ll be 27 straight days of World Cup soccer, which is unprecedented.

Will players get enough rest?

“Enough” is a subjective word, but they’ll get more rest than they did in Qatar.

At the 2022 World Cup, most teams played every fourth day, on three days’ rest. In the Round of 16, Argentina and Australia actually played on two days’ rest. At the 2026 World Cup, each team should have at least four days between its first and second game and either three or four between its second and third.

Beyond that, details are hazy, but organizers have promised that all teams will have at least three rest days between all games — with the exception of the second semifinal loser, who’ll have a Wednesday-Saturday turnaround for the third-place game.

North America is massive, though. What about travel?

In Qatar, all eight stadiums were within a 22-mile radius. Even at Russia 2018, the longest possible flight was roughly half the distance from New York to Los Angeles. Travel — for teams and fans — will be the 2026 World Cup’s biggest inconvenience (and biggest greenhouse gas-emitter).

To mitigate it, FIFA has divided the 16 host cities into three distinct regions, also referred to as “clusters”:

  • East: Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Toronto

  • Central: Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey

  • West: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver

Most teams and groups — though not all — will stay confined to one region through the group stage. Come the knockouts, according to a World Cup official involved in schedule development, paths will be designed to grant teams that top their group favorable travel itineraries.

Do we know knockout-round pairings? Where is that tidy World Cup schedule grid?

Traditionally, FIFA releases a color-coded grid that places each matchup — say, Group G’s top seed (G1) vs. G3 — on a specific date, at a specific stadium and even at a specific time.

The grid includes Round of 16 matchups — say, the Group A winner (1A) vs. the Group B runner-up (2B) — and beyond, allowing teams and fans to plot paths all the way through the tournament.

The Qatar 2022 grid was released 28 months before the opener in July 2020. But the 2026 equivalent hasn’t yet been revealed. The grid released Sunday contained no mention of groups or matchups.

The first iteration of a 2026 World Cup schedule grid. (FIFA)The first iteration of a 2026 World Cup schedule grid. (FIFA)

The first iteration of a 2026 World Cup schedule grid. (FIFA)

The traditional grid will come in a separate release later this year, according to the World Cup official, but with one minor departure from precedent.

What’s that one difference?

The 2026 schedule grid won’t put “G1 vs. G3” at a specific stadium. Instead, it’ll pair two cities from the same regional cluster — say, Atlanta and Miami — with two Group G games, both played the same day.

FIFA will then wait until after the draw, once it knows the identity of all four Group G teams, to choose which game goes where. Atlanta, for example, could get G1 vs. G3 or G2 vs. G4.

Why is FIFA doing this?

This unprecedented “50-50 flexibility,” as the World Cup official called it, will allow organizers to place popular teams in bigger markets.

They could largely accomplish this, however, by simply putting top seeds (“G1,” “H1,” etc.) in those big markets, so it’s unclear why the added flexibility is necessary.

Multiple officials in U.S. host cities have privately speculated that the true reason is to maintain leverage in contentious commercial negotiations. By withholding some details, FIFA is “keeping the cities hungry, knowing that they’re competing for the chance to have Argentina, or Brazil, in their markets,” one source familiar with the negotiations told Yahoo Sports last month.

What time will all these games start?

Nobody knows. Kickoff times are a major question.

At past 21st-century men’s World Cups, long before the draw, FIFA assigned G1 vs. G3 (and every other matchup) to a specific time slot. It would then swap and adjust some kickoff times after the draw to accommodate global TV audiences and incompatible time zones — to ensure, for example, that the USMNT was playing at 3 p.m. ET or 9 p.m. ET rather than 3 a.m. or 9 a.m., whenever possible.

For 2026, it’s unclear whether FIFA will even do the first part. The World Cup official, who preferred to not be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on behalf of FIFA, said nothing related to kickoff times had been decided — “that’s something we’re still working on” — and none will be finalized until after the draw.

Why? What makes kickoff times so difficult to figure out?

At every 32-team World Cup from 1998 through 2022, each group-stage day featured one-to-four games, usually three, each in its own time window. In 2018, for example, a typical day featured games at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Moscow time.

In 2026, a typical day will feature four games, each lasting two hours, across multiple time zones and disparate climates. That, in a nutshell, is what makes this entire scheduling exercise such a headache.

The ideal schedule for worldwide TV viewers and broadcasters would put each game in its own unique window, with at least a 30-minute buffer in between. But the ideal schedule for host cities, ticket-buying fans and other local stakeholders would put each game somewhere between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. wherever it’s being played.

Television viewers (and the money associated with them) far outnumber match-goers, so FIFA tends to prioritize them. At the 2023 Women’s World Cup, for example, organizers scheduled some U.S. games at 1 p.m. local time in New Zealand; at least one didn’t sell out but did attract a record TV audience on Fox back home.

In 2026, a daily schedule similar to Qatar 2022, with games at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET — and with the late game out west at 7 p.m. PT — seems feasible. But FIFA might be tempted to push games even earlier or later, into European or Asian prime time, depending on the participants.

So will there be a customary cadence, or will each day of the group stage be different? At the 2023 Women’s World Cup, start times were scattered all over the place. In 2026, the answers are very much up in the air.

What about heat?

That’s another complication. World Cup officials have studied temperature and humidity indexes going back more than 20 years to gauge what times they can reasonably start games in each of the 16 cities without endangering players or fans. Afternoon games at some eastern and central stadiums might not be safe.

Although domes and air-conditioning help — in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, specifically — officials are still concerned about fans traveling to and from the stadiums.

Speaking of stadiums and domes … will the World Cup be played on turf?

No. All 11 U.S. stadiums — even those already blessed with grass — will develop and install specialized natural-grass playing surfaces for the World Cup. The pitch, as it’s called in soccer parlance, is one of FIFA’s primary concerns.

Will NFL stadiums have to adjust to accommodate soccer?

Yes. NFL fields are 53.3 yards wide. FIFA requires a playing field at least 68 meters (74.4 yards) wide, with a total grass pitch area at least 85 meters by 125 (93 yards by 136.7).

That’s a problem for several stadiums, especially SoFi in Southern California. Most, if not all, of the 11 U.S. venues will have to undergo construction to remove sideline and corner seats — temporarily and specifically for the World Cup.

The “pitch conversion” and “seat kills,” as insiders sometimes call them, will vary city to city. At SoFi, the renovation project will begin Monday.

Which cities and stadiums got which games?

Here’s the full breakdown:

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, 1 semifinal
Boston — Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Dallas — AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (9): 5 group stage, 2 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, 1 semifinal
Houston — NRG Stadium (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium (6): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California (8): 5 group stage, 2 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (7): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 quarterfinal, third-place match
New York — MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (8): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16, final
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 16
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32
Seattle — Lumen Field (6): 4 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16

Toronto — BMO Field (6): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32
Vancouver — BC Place (7): 5 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16

Guadalajara — Estadio Akron in Zapopan, Mexico (4): 4 group stage
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca (5): 3 group stage, 1 Round of 32, 1 Round of 16
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico (4): 3 group stage, 1 Round of 32

How can I get tickets?

You can’t yet. You can “register interest” here, but FIFA has not released any information about how or when tickets will be sold.

The expectation is that they will become available sometime in 2025, likely in the fall. And there will probably be multiple sales phases, as there were for Qatar 2022. High-demand games, such as the final, will likely be subject to ticket lotteries. Some group stage tickets, on the other hand, should hit the open market.

Everything will be expensive, especially for fans traveling from countries with weaker currencies. Back in 2017, while bidding to host the tournament, North American officials proposed the following ticket prices, including an average of $305 per group-stage ticket:

(United Bid Book)(United Bid Book)

(United Bid Book)

Full 2026 World Cup schedule, day by day

Thursday, June 11
2 group stage games

Mexico City — Estadio Azteca
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)

Friday, June 12
2 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Saturday, June 13
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Vancouver — BC Place
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Sunday, June 14
4 group stage games

Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Monday, June 15
4 group stage games

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Tuesday, June 16
4 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Wednesday, June 17
4 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Houston — NRG Stadium
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Thursday, June 18
4 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Friday, June 19
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Saturday, June 20
4 group stage games

Toronto — BMO Field
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
Houston — NRG Stadium
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Sunday, June 21
4 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Monday, June 22
4 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Tuesday, June 23
4 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Toronto — BMO Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)

Wednesday, June 24
6 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)
Seattle — Lumen Field
Vancouver — BC Place

Thursday, June 25
6 group stage games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Friday, June 26
6 group stage games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Toronto — BMO Field
Houston — NRG Stadium
Guadalajara — Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Mexico)
Seattle — Lumen Field
Vancouver — BC Place

Saturday, June 27
6 group stage games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Sunday, June 28
1 Round of 32 game

Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Monday, June 29
3 Round of 32 games

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Houston — NRG Stadium
Monterrey — Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, Mexico)

Tuesday, June 30
3 Round of 32 games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Wednesday, July 1
3 Round of 32 games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
San Francisco — Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Thursday, July 2
3 Round of 32 games

Toronto — BMO Field
Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
Vancouver — BC Place

Friday, July 3
3 Round of 32 games

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Saturday, July 4
2 Round of 16 games

Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field
Houston — NRG Stadium

Sunday, July 5
2 Round of 16 games

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Mexico City — Estadio Azteca

Monday, July 6
2 Round of 16 games

Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)
Seattle — Lumen Field

Tuesday, July 7
2 Round of 16 games

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Vancouver — BC Place

Wednesday, July 8

None

Thursday, July 9
1 quarterfinal

Boston — Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

Friday, July 10
1 quarterfinal

Los Angeles — SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)

Saturday, July 11
2 quarterfinals

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium

Sunday, July 12

None

Monday, July 13

None

Tuesday, July 14
Semifinal

Dallas — AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Tex.)

Wednesday, July 15
Semifinal

Atlanta — Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Saturday, July 18
Third-place game

Miami — Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Sunday, July 19
Final

New York — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

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