Monday, July 15

FIFA President “counting down the days” with two years to FIFA World Cup 26™ start

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  • Gianni Infantino says the world “will stand still and watch” the FIFA World Cup 26™
  • The tournament will kick off in Mexico City on 11 June 2026
  • Qualifying already underway in Africa, Asia, North, Central America & Caribbean, and South America
  • Multimedia content available to download for editorial purposes

Like football fans all around the world, FIFA President Gianni Infantino says he is “counting down the days” with exactly two years to go until the FIFA World Cup 26™ kicks off.

The FIFA President said that the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup™, which starts on 11 June 2026 at the iconic Estadio Azteca Mexico City, would be the “the greatest event, the greatest show, the greatest tournament” that the world has ever seen. It will also be the most inclusive FIFA World Cup ever, featuring a record 48 teams and hosted by 16 cities across three countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

“I am counting down the days, definitely. Like everyone else. Two years seems far away, but we know it is very, very close,” said Mr Infantino, standing alongside the FIFA World Cup trophy he will present to the winning team after the final in New York New Jersey on 19 July 2026.

“In two years from now, the world will stand still and watch what is happening in North America. The trophy is already here, ready – we take care of it – and we are all getting ready, gearing up for the competition, preparing everything.”

The Estadio Azteca Mexico City – one of three venues in Mexico along with Estadio Monterrey and Estadio Guadalajara – will make history at the tournament, having also hosted the opening matches of the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986.

“It will be the first stadium to host three inaugural (FIFA) World Cup football matches,” said the FIFA President. “We’ve never seen this before, and to experience it at an iconic stadium like the Azteca is something very, very special. We all know the epic games, (FIFA) World Cup games, that have been played there in the past, absolute champions like Pelé and Diego Maradona who played and won at the Azteca.”

As a further reminder that the tournament is approaching, a number of qualifying matches are being played as the milestone was reached. Eighteen games were scheduled to take place in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers, bringing the second round of qualifying to a conclusion and determining which 18 teams would proceed to the third stage. Matches in North, Central America & Caribbean (Concacaf), and in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are also scheduled on the day. The ball started rolling in South America in September 2023.

The FIFA President said that preparations were well on course across the three Host Nations. “In the Host Cities, of course, we are working with the authorities, with the stadium owners and operators, with the local communities,” he said of the two Canadian, three Mexican, and 11 US venues. “(There is) fantastic collaboration everywhere. They are looking forward to millions and millions of fans from all over the world. The stadiums are absolutely beautiful.”

He added: “Every day, there are events which are being planned, which are taking place, be it with the authorities, be it with our partners, the sponsors, the broadcasters.”

Upcoming FIFA World Cup 26 milestones include qualifying draws in both Asia and Oceania. Qualifying in AFC will continue in September with 18 nations vying for eight direct tournament slots, while matches in the Oceania Football Confederation will commence in September with 11 nations competing for one direct slot. UEFA qualifying, meanwhile, takes place between March 2025 and March 2026, with 16 berths available for European teams.

Fans can start to get ready to be part of the biggest FIFA World Cup yet by signing up for ticketing and hospitality updates via, with hospitality sales scheduled to start later this year.

Note to editors:
A multimedia package featuring an interview with the FIFA President and 16 bespoke messages to the FIFA World Cup 26 Host Cities is available at the following links (Link 1Link 2) for media to download for editorial purposes only. It includes also additional b-roll and pictures of the FIFA World Cup Winner’s Trophy in Mexico City, as well as graphics for use on social media.

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