Houston will host 7 FIFA World Cup matches in summer 2026

Rosie Nguyen Image
Monday, February 5, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston is hosting seven 2026 FIFA World Cup games, according to an official announcement on Sunday afternoon.

The seven games will take place on June 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 30, and July 4.

Back in June 2022, Houston was announced as one of 16 cities that will officially host games throughout the five-week international soccer championship in 2026. Local organizers said the city will get a chance to be part of sports history since the World Cup has not returned to the U.S. in 32 years.

Chris Canetti, committee president of Houston's World Cup, said Houston will likely get five to eight matches. But none of them will be for the semifinals and finals, which means that local festivities will only take place during the first three weeks.

However, Canetti explained that hosting an event of this scope is still a very big deal. It was a bid that their team began pursuing in 2018 when an announcement was made at the 2018 World Cup in Russia that North America was awarded host city rights for the 2026 tournament.

"Think about hosting five of these Super Bowls in Houston over the course of, let's say, three weeks in 2026. That's the magnitude of this event," Canetti said.

When speaking to ABC13 last week, Canetti could not share any additional details about the matches. He said FIFA keeps the information a deeply guarded secret.

"We're going to find out when the rest of the world finds out. We literally have no insight as to what this looks like. It comes as a surprise when it's announced on live TV, just like when we learned that we were hosting," Canetti said.

In addition to the matches, Canetti said Houston will host events every day for the first three weeks, such as FIFA Fan Fest and watch parties. He mentioned that the tournament is expanding from 32 to 48 teams, growing the number of matches from 64 to 104.

The official announcement for the matches took place Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The Harris County & Houston Sports Authority hosted a public gathering to watch the announcement, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Pitch 25 at 2120 Walker Street in downtown Houston.

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