BMO Field to host six World Cup matches, including Team Canada's opener


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Oct 26, 2009
BMO Field to host six World Cup matches, including Team Canada's opener
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Neil Davidson
Published Feb 04, 2024 • Last updated 7 hours ago • 4 minute read

Canada will host 13 of the 104 games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup with seven in Vancouver and six in Toronto.

As expected, the U.S. will stage the lion’s share of the action — with 78 games — at the expanded 48-team men’s soccer showcase. Like Canada, Mexico will host 13 games.

The 2026 tournament will kick off June 11 at Mexico City’s historic Azteca Stadium and close July 19 with the championship game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Toronto’s BMO Field will host the Canadian men in the opening game on Canadian soil on June 12.

“A great city which has a great football or soccer tradition,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Canada will stage 10 opening-round games — split evenly between Toronto and Vancouver, which will host Canada’s two other opening-round matches June 18 and 24 at B.C. Place Stadium.

“We’ve had a lot of success in that stadium, especially in World Cup qualifying,” interim Canada coach Mauro Biello said of BMO Field.

Biello said he was looking forward to the “energy” of B.C. Place.

“It’s important to be coast to coast and allow fans to see their team and be able to see this type of competition,” he said of the opening-round travel.

Toronto and Vancouver will each stage a round-of-32 knockout game with Vancouver also hosting a round-of-16 match.

Vancouver likely gets one more game than Toronto because it offers a bigger venue. Capacity at B.C. Place for the tournament will be 54,000, while BMO Field, once extra seats are added, will accommodate 45,000.

The 48th-ranked Canadian men are still looking for their first World Cup win after losing all three matches in both 1986 in Mexico and in 2022 in Qatar.

The quarter-finals are set for Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Miami with the semifinals in Atlanta and Dallas. The bronze-medal game will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The U.S. plays its first group game June 12 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and will face less travel than Canada with a game at Seattle’s Lumen Field sandwiched around two matches at SoFi.

The 2026 tournament was initially planned for 80 games with the U.S. expected to host 60 and Canada and Mexico getting 10 apiece. The group phase was subsequently enlarged, adding an additional 24 games.

There are 16 host cities — two in Canada, three in Mexico and the rest in the U.S. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host the most matches with nine.

With 45 teams still to qualify, the full schedule will have to wait until the tournament draw in December 2025.

The televised reveal also included a cameo by Drake in conversation with Infantino.

While the Toronto rapper is known more for his love of hoops than the beautiful game, he has connections with the Canadian men’s team and has hung out with them when they are in town. During the schedule reveal show, Drake talked up Canada’s and Toronto’s multicultural population, calling the World Cup a “beautiful time” in the city.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian and her son Saint helped announce the U.S. will open play in L.A.

The show, co-hosted by actor Kevin Hart, was streamed around the world by FIFA.

Mexico will become the first country to stage the FIFA men’s World Cup for a third time after hosting in 1970 and 1986. The U.S. hosted the 1994 tournament.

Canada has never hosted the men’s World Cup although it tried to get the 1986 edition after Colombia, the original choice, said it could not stage the tournament for financial reasons. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico all submitted bids to be the replacement host with Mexico eventually being chosen by FIFA, much to the ire of Canada and the U.S.

Canada hosted the 2015 Women’s World Cup, as well as other age-group world championships.

World Cup qualifying has already started in CONMEBOL (South America), the AFC (Asia) and CAF (Africa).

CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, kicks off qualifying next month, while the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) begins in September. UEFA (Europe) starts in March 2025.

CONCACAF could send as many as eight teams to the expanded World Cup. Three teams will join the tournament co-hosts via regional qualifying with two more bidding to join them via intercontinental playoffs.

FIFA awarded the 2026 hosting rights to the three co-hosts on June 13, 2018, at a meeting of the FIFA Congress. The so-called united bid received 134 of 200 votes cast (67%), while Morocco got 65 votes (33%) with one member association voting not to choose either bid.