By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK – As expected, New York/New Jersey was selected as one of the 16 host cities/venues for the 2026 World Cup on Thursday.
The big question is whether MetLife Stadium will host the final of the greatest show on earth in the largest World Cup in history, with 48 teams qualifying and and playing in three countries – U.S., Mexico and Canada – for the first time.
Giants Stadium was home to seven matches in the 1994 World Cup, which included a semifinal. The championship match was held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
It will be a while before the dates and who gets the opening match and the final of the 2026 World Cup will be revealed, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
“We will take our time with the decision,” he said. “We will obviously have some discussions. … Every match will be final.”
New York/New Jersey was the final venue announced and via video, two well known personalities touted both sides of the Hudson River.
“FIFA 2026 World Cup, New York, New Jersey. It would be phenomenal. There is no better place,” said comedian John Stewart, who played college soccer at William & Mary College.
Speaking from the Jersey Shore, former NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams said: “We can’t wait to welcome the world to the FIFA 2026 World Cup. The stadium is just up the road.”
The announcement was made at NBC Studios in Manhattan via a 90-minute TV show on FS1.
The host cities were placed into three regions: West, Central and East.
Five venues were selected in the West: Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco/Bay Area, Los Angeles and Guadalajara.
Another six cities were in the Central area were picked: Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey and Mexico City.
The East venues were Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York/New Jersey.
For the first time in the history of the World Cup, a country’s capital city won’t be among the venues as the joint bid of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore was left out in the cold by FIFA.
“We congratulate the 16 FIFA World Cup Host Cities on their outstanding commitment and passion,” Infantino said in a statement. Today is a historic day – for everyone in those cities and states, for FIFA, for Canada, the USA and Mexico who will put on the greatest show on Earth. We look forward to working together with them to deliver what will be an unprecedented FIFA World Cup and a game-changer as we strive to make football truly global.”