The perfect fit.
With the World Cup being played in North America in 2026, there isn’t a better place to host the final than the New York Metropolitan Area — specifically MetLife Stadium in the heart of the Meadowlands, where the great Pelé once played to sold-out crowds in the ’70s.
FIFA, which oversees the World Cup, announced on Sunday that the 2026 final will be staged at MetLife Stadium, which was awarded the honor over AT&T Stadium in Texas and the newly minted SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles for soccer’s showcase game.
The final of the 39-day tournament featuring 48 nations and 104 games spread across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, will be played on July 19, 2026.
The Super Bowl was played on Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium — which was opened in 2010 — when Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defeated Peyton Manning’s Broncos. This is bigger than that.
New Jersey rock and roll treasure Bruce Springsteen has called the Meadowlands his home stage for decades. This is bigger than that.
While it may be difficult for the American sports fan to fully comprehend because we live in a universe where we believe all big events revolve around us, this is bigger — on a global scale — than anything that’s ever taken place at the Meadowlands.
The eyes of the world will be upon us for that momentous day.
If we’re being honest, the two venues MetLife Stadium beat out for this event are better stadiums than MetLife.
AT&T Stadium seats more than MetLife. It’s indoors, so there would be no threat of outside elements affecting the match. The place is state-of-the-art.
SoFi Stadium, which is also covered from the outside elements and has a unique indoor-outdoor feel, is arguably the most beautiful stadium in America.
But it goes beyond aesthetics, comfort and seating capacity that MetLife was awarded this match. The New York-New Jersey area is as diverse a place as there is in the country.
“It’s going to be a special World Cup,” U.S. National team coach Gregg Berhalter said after the announcement was made. “To have the final in New York, New Jersey is a dream come true for me. Being from that area (Englewood, N.J.), and I’m sure for most people from that area, it’s an area with a rich tradition of soccer and producing players.’’
Nearby Kearny, N.J., which sits in the shadow of Newark and is minutes away from MetLife Stadium, has been a hotbed for U.S. soccer for years, producing the likes of former U.S. men’s national team stars John Harkes, Tony Meola and Tab Ramos.
“To think about when I was little, going to watch the Cosmos and them selling out Giants Stadium, and now this stadium is going to host a World Cup final, it’s really special,” Berhalter said.
As a teenage soccer junkie, I attended many of those matches at Giants Stadium, awed at the sight of international icons like Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. They drew more fans into Giants Stadium than the Giants did back in those days. Cosmos games were an event. And now, the grandest event in world sports will take place in our backyard.
Imagine the impact if the U.S. national team can make a run in that World Cup. Since reaching the semifinals of the first World Cup in 1930, the U.S. has advanced to the quarterfinals just once, in 2002.
“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,” Berhalter said.
Seventy-eight of 104 matches will be played in the U.S., with 13 games each in Mexico and Canada.
AT&T will host a tournament-high nine matches, and there will be eight each at MetLife, SoFi and Mercedes-Benz in Atlanta, seven apiece at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida, Gillette Stadium in New England, and NRG Stadium in Houston, six apiece at Lumen in Seattle, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
When the U.S. hosted the 24-nation, 52-game tournament in 1994, the final was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and one of the semifinals was at Giants Stadium.
Argentina, led by the iconic magician Lionel Messi, is the defending champion. All you need to know about Messi’s popularity is that when he played his first MLS match with Inter Miami at Red Bull Arena this past season, $25 tickets were going for more than $800 apiece in the secondary market.
This area is not only built for the big event, it relishes the big stage with the biggest stars.
That makes the World Cup 2026 final and MetLife Stadium the perfect match for the most important match of all.