(WSVN) - It’s official: Miami will be among the host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
Hard Rock Stadium was selected by FIFA among several other U.S. stadiums to host the tournament, which will be co-hosted by 16 cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States.
In total, 16 cities, spread across the three nations, were selected.
Eleven U.S. stadiums were taken– all from the NFL. Arlington, Texas; East Rutherford, New Jersey; Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Inglewood and Santa Clara, California, were holdover areas from the 1994 tournament that boosted soccer’s American prominence.
Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, which hosted the 1970 and ’86 finals, will become the first stadium that has hosted three World Cups. It was selected along with Guadalajara’s Estadio Akron and Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA.
Toronto’s BMO Field and Vancouver, British Columbia’s BC Place were picked for Canada’s first time hosting.
The U.S. will host 60 of the 80 games under FIFA’s plan, including all from the quarterfinals on.
In an interview with 7News back in 2018, President of the Miami Dolphins Tom Garfinkel believed the stadium would be a perfect choice, highlighting previous major soccer matches held there.
“We designed it to be a global entertainment destination,” he said, “I think it’s among, if not the best place to view soccer in the world now.”
Fritz and Franz in Coral Gables held a watch party with Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez on hand. He is ecstatic that the World Cup is coming to the 305.
“I mean I remember so many different World Cups, we would close down streets so people could watch the team of choice, and now we’re going to have it here. It’s a big deal,” said Suarez.
“This is amazing news for us,” said Cava. “We are the capital of soccer, of futbol, in the United States. It’s going to be a huge boost for us.”
The same with Miami’s own Gloria Estefan.
“So excited, so get ready because the rhythm and Miami is gonna get you,” said Estefan.
The last World Cup held in the United States was in 1994, and this is the first time a joint World Cup will be held between three countries.
“We have already hosted Super Bowls, Formula 1, tennis,” said Cava. “We know how to do this, and it’s going to be great. People are going to love it, they’ll be thronging to come back for more events here.”
This will be the first 48-nation World Cup, up from the 32-team format used since 1998. In a tournament likely to run from June 11 to July 12, but possibly start and end a week later, there will be 16 groups of three nations. Each team will play two first-round games instead of three as part of an awkward arrangement in which one nation in each group opens against an opponent who will have already played. The top two in each group advance to a 32-nation knockout bracket.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.