'2024 is a critical year': Houston World Cup committee begins plans ahead of hosting in 2026

Greg Bailey Image
Monday, February 5, 2024
Congratulations, Houston! You're a 2026 FIFA World Cup host city
Houston's bid to become one of 16 North American cities to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches became successful after a four-year journey.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston World Cup Committee President Chris Canetti knows the work is just beginning after Sunday's announcement that Houston will host seven matches in the 2026 World Cup.

The video above is from a 2022 report.

"(It's) a critical year in this process," Canneti said. "We've got to get a lot of stuff done in 2024 as a host committee."

Canetti mentioned renovations that will be needed at NRG Stadium, preparing training sites for teams and the site for fan fest as examples.

Houston will host seven matches in the 2026 World Cup. That includes two matches in the knock-out rounds after five group-stage matches.

The total number of matches in Houston is more than cities like Seattle and Philadelphia, which will host six matches each. Canetti sets the stage for what local and visiting fans from around the world will see at NRG Stadium.

"There are many opportunities to see some of the greatest soccer entities of all time," Canetti said.

In the summer of 2026, Houston will host the five group-stage matches in a 13-day span from June 14 to June 26. One match each in the round of 32 and the round of 16 will follow.

Canetti praised Houston's success in hosting major sporting events like the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

He also reminds everyone the World Cup in 2026, with its expanded field, is unlike anything our city has every hosted.

"The World Cup will be a memorable experience for many people," he said.

The goal is to put on a world-class experience while growing the game.

FIFA is expected to announce the match schedule for the 2026 World Cup near the end of 2025, likely in December of that year. That's when we'll find out what teams will play at NRG Stadium.

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