The 2026 World Cup final in… New Jersey? A Brief Guide to MetLife Stadium | World Cup 2026

The final match of the World Cup will be held in New Jersey? As in the industrial hell at the beginning of The Sopranos? And Jersey Shore? The kind of place that is Men eat sloppy steak? Well technically, yes. But this is actually the ultimate in New York City: MetLife Stadium is located just seven miles from Manhattan, located near the New York-New Jersey border. Holding the biggest match in world soccer in (well, pretty close to) the largest city in the United States makes sense [Disclaimer: New Jersey also has friendly people, beautiful countryside, charming small towns and stunning coastline].

Because it is a World Cup final and it is being held in the richest country in the world, there is no doubt that MetLife is a breathtaking place. Well, the stench that sometimes emanates from the nearby Meadowlands swamps is breathtaking. But, aside from that, the stadium itself is… good? There's nothing offensive about MetLife – it doesn't fall down or anything and holds a lot of people – about 82,000 or so. But it doesn't have the history of Estadio Azteca, venue of the tournament's opening match, or the space-age feel of Los Angeles' SOF Stadium, which will host two of the USA's group stage matches.

Does she have experience hosting large events? Yes, this is New York City New Jersey, after all. The MetLife hosted the Super Bowl in February 2014, and everyone from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift to local boy Bruce Springsteen has held concerts there. MetLife's regular tenants are the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets, but given how bad they are these days, calling their games “big events” is a stretch.

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Is there much to do around the stadium? New York City has it all. East Rutherford, NJ though? Not much. There is plenty of parking around the stadium. And some of the marshes mentioned. And also the American Dream Shopping Center, which is the second largest shopping center in the United States, if you want to buy some socks from Foot Locker or… Fancy a fast run down the piste.

One of the lasting images of the 1994 World Cup was when Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton looked incredibly hot and sweaty on the sidelines at Giants Stadium, MetLife's predecessor. Can we expect similar scenes for 2026? The MetLife Hotel is located a little inland, so you won't get much of a refreshing sea breeze, but at the same time it's not on the stinky sweat island called Manhattan in the summer. The area can get quite humid but July also has its share of pleasant days as well. Many of the 2026 World Cup host cities will be hotter in July (although many have rooftops to help players and fans stay cool). So we might get Charlton-like scenes, but assuming global warming doesn't escalate too quickly in the next couple of years and the match takes place in the evening, it might be okay.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles has also been considered as a venue for the World Cup final. Photography: Mario Anzoni/Reuters

Will players have to slip on the artificial turf? NFL players have long complained that MetLife's artificial turf is to blame for a An alarming number of infections, with a visiting Miami Dolphins player calling the surface “trash.” That won't be a problem at the World Cup: the stadium will be Use of grass field for the 2026 tournament. Just under 2,000 seats will also be removed to expand the stadium for the World Cup as well.

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Can I get there by public transportation? There is always a trade-off in World Cup finals. At Qatar 2022, fans got great trains but no alcohol. In 2026, there will be a lot of alcohol but there will also be a so-called New York/New Jersey public transit system. If you imagine yourself exiting a chic Manhattan restaurant before making a quick trip to the stadium, forget it. The easiest way to get from the city is to go to Penn Station to catch a train to Secaucus Junction, one of the less glamorous transportation hubs in the Northern Hemisphere. From there you can change to another train to MetLife. There are also buses from the stadium to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (pro tip: do this). no Make eye contact with anyone you don't know). However, at least you can get to MetLife by public transportation, which is not the case at many major stadiums in the United States.

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Can I drive there? Of course you can, this is America. Car parking is available very big.

I heard that venues in Texas and California were also on track for the final. What happened? The Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, a monument to Texas excess that can hold up to 100,000 people, has been tipped by many to host the final but there is no public transportation to the stadium so fans without cars must rely on taxis. The stadium will host nine more World Cup matches, more than any other stadium. SoFi Stadium was also the favorite, but its owner, Stan Kroenke, got into a dispute with FIFA over revenue sharing. Its consolation prize will host these two group stage matches for the USA and will also be the venue for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

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