Tuesday 16 May 2023, 13:00

Co-Hosts look ahead to FIFA World Cup 2026™

  • FIFA World Cup 2026™ set to be the biggest-ever

  • Official Brand launch takes place on Wednesday 17 May

  • Representatives of three co-hosts preview the potential impact of the 2026 edition

Less than six months since ‘the best FIFA World Cup’ ever in Qatar, the spotlight is about to increasingly fall on the co-hosting nations of the 2026 edition: Canada, Mexico and the USA. On Wednesday, 17 May 2023, the Official Brand of the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup™ will be unveiled to fans around the world, a major milestone on the road to the biggest sporting event ever.

Before a single ball has been kicked in the qualifiers, the FIFA World Cup 2026™ can already claim a number of ‘firsts.’ Not only will it be the first of 23 editions to be co-hosted in three different countries. It will also be the first to host 48 teams. The crowning of the world champion will take place at the conclusion of the 104th and final match; exactly 40 more than were played in Qatar. Since the first FIFA World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, 80 different nations have participated in a final tournament, with Mexico ranked 5th in the all-time chart, with 17 appearances. At France ’98, Jaime Ordiales represented ‘El Tri’ twice. Talking recently at the post-FIFA World Cup 2022™ Coaches Forum in his capacity as Director of Men’s National Teams of the Mexican FA, he explained what it will mean to host the tournament for a third time, following Mexico 1970 and ‘86.

Jaime Ordiales, Director of Football Mexico is interviewed during the Post FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Coaches Forum

“I think it’s a country that, as we say, have two important aspects: our religion, and football is also like a religion. It’s a part of our [way of] life, for nearly all the Mexican people; a great opportunity to bring the best of us to the whole world and we hope that will be the case.” Canada, unlike their central American co-hosts are relative ‘novices’ when it comes to FIFA World Cup qualification. Their appearance at Qatar 2022 was only their second in history, following on from Mexico ’86. Head Coach John Herdman first cut his teeth as a FIFA World Cup coach at the helm of the Canadian Women’s National Team who hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

John Herdman, Head Coach of Canada during a portrait session as part of the Post FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Coaches Forum

After the unique experience of leading a team at both a men’s and women’s final tournament, English-born Herdman talked of the impact the performance of his young team at Qatar 2022 had on his adopted country. “Our women’s team, for the last ten years, has been a podium team, and it carried the country from an international perspective; but our men’s team qualifying for the World Cup was a game-changer” he said, on the side-lines of the Coaches Forum. “To see schools shut down and see kids in gyms watching the big screens, that’s what we dreamed of: west coast, the east coast, this massive country all pulling on a red jersey and putting their [ice] hockey jerseys in the cupboard.”

Brandi Chastain celebrates scoring winning penalty in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

The unveiling of the 2026 Official Brand is set to be unveiled at 19:30 local time (04:30 CEST on 18 May) in Los Angeles, USA. The state of California of course already holds a place in FIFA history books. Pasadena memorably hosted the men’s final in 1994, with Brazil triumphing over Italy on penalties. Five years later, the same stadium witnessed another penalty-shoot-out victory, this time featuring ‘the’ iconic celebration by Brandi Chastain, as the hosts edged China to lift the trophy. Four years later, the USA hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup again. This time, Germany lifted the trophy, setting another bit of history; the first and only final to be settled by a ‘golden goal.’

Anthony Hudson, Interim Head Coach of the United States during a portrait session as part of the Post FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Coaches Forum

With the increasing rise of both the MLS and NWSL in recent years, the global game has become increasingly embedded in the consciousness of Americans. Anthony Hudson, current men’s national team Head Coach, believes the 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament will play a further catalyzing role in the sport’s development. “We have a young team, a young talented team. All around the pitch we have players of high talent, high potential, making their way in top European clubs and leagues, and they’re at a great age,” said Hudson. “I can only really speak about the States because that’s where I’m based and I’ve spent most of my time, but the drive to grow the game there, it’s incredible. The game is only going in one direction, and the World Cup being there is really going to be a game changer in that sense.” You can watch the star-studded show with special guest performances for the Official Brand Launch on Wednesday 17 May, live on FIFA+.