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2026 World Cup final will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey

 The MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. [Courtesy,X]

The 2026 World Cup final will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, beating out Texas and California for soccer’s showcase game.

FIFA awarded the July 19 championship to the $1.6 billion venue, which opened in 2010, the culminating match of an expanded 48-nation, 104-game tournament that will be spread across three nations for the first time.

Located about 10 miles from Manhattan, MetLife was promoted by both New York and New Jersey, where the stadium was built in the Meadowlands marshes.

The land of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra will be the focal point of the globe on that Sunday, when either Lionel Messi’s Argentina will try to win its second straight title or a successor will emerge.

“It will be a celebration of our diversity and our values,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a telephone interview. “The bigger picture is what leads up to it and what we leave behind for the decades to come.”

FIFA made the announcement Sunday at a Miami television studio, allocating the opener of the 39-day tournament to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on June 11 and the finale to the home of the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had lobbied for the final to be at his AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“The competition was dealing with the perception of the coastal, of a New York, or a Los Angeles,” he said. “If this were totally being played to just America and the United States, that wouldn’t have been such a formidable thing to overcome. But internationally, that’s formidable to overcome.”

All games from the quarterfinals on are being played in the United States. Semifinals are on July 14 at AT&T and the following day at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Quarterfinals are at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on July 9, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, the following day, and at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 11. The third-place game will be at Hard Rock on July 18.

The U.S. team will train in suburban Atlanta ahead of the tournament and open at SoFi on June 12. The Americans play seven days later at Seattle’s Lumen Field and finish the group stage at SoFi on June 25.

Since reaching the semifinals of the first World Cup in 1930, the U.S. has advanced to the quarterfinals just once, in 2002.

“It’s about making our nation proud,” American coach Gregg Berhalter said. “One way to really grow the game and to change soccer in America forever is to perform well and do something that no U.S. team has ever done before.”

Seventy-eight of 104 matches will be played in the U.S., with 13 games each in Mexico and Canada, and there as many as six matches a day.

AT&T will host a tournament-high nine matches. There will be eight each at MetLife, SoFi and Mercedes Benz; seven apiece at Hard Rock, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and NRG Stadium in Houston; and six apiece at Lumen, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

FIFA officials did not publicly explain their site-decision process.

Philadelphia’s final match will be a round-of-16 meeting on July 4, the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park hosts baseball’s All-Star Game, likely on July 14.

Santa Clara is the only U.S. site that will not host a game after the new round of 32. AT&T will host two round-of-32 matches.

FIFA expanded the World Cup from 32 to 48 nations, increased matches from 64 and announced the 16 sites in 2022.

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