FIFA unveils match schedules for 2026 World Cup


Football’s governing body, FIFA, has revealed that the 2026 World Cup final will be held in New York, New Jersey, while Mexico City will host the historic opening match.

The 2026 World Cup, to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the USA from Thursday, June 11, 2026, to Sunday, July 19, 2026, would witness 48 teams vie for the coveted World Cup trophy.

Each of the three host countries would play their three group-stage matches on home soil, with Canada kicking off their campaign in Toronto on Friday, June 12, 2026.

The United States would begin their journey on the same day in Los Angeles, while Mexico will play at the iconic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Thursday, June 11, 2026.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: ‘The most inclusive and impactful FIFA World Cup ever is no longer a dream but a reality that will take shape in the form of 104 matches in 16 state-of-the-art stadiums across Canada, Mexico, and the USA. From the opening match at the iconic Estadio Azteca to the spectacular final in New Y
ork, New Jersey players and fans have been at the core of our extensive planning for this game-changing tournament’.

‘I would like to thank our three host countries and 16 Host Cities for the unwavering commitment to staging a FIFA World Cup that will not only set new records but also leave an indelible legacy.’

FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani said: ‘The FIFA World Cup 26 will be a watershed moment and one that will trigger massive football development in our region and worldwide. While each Host City is unique, they all have something in common – they are passionate about football and cannot wait to welcome the world in June and July 2026.’

According to FIFA, the tournament’s innovative match schedule would minimise travel for teams and fans alike, while the number of rest days between fixtures will be maximised.

Match pairings and kick-off times would be confirmed following the Final Draw for FIFA World Cup 26, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2025.

Sour
ce: Ghana News Agency

Mohammed Polo exposes loopholes in current football system


Ghanaian football legend Mohammed Polo says the lack of identity in the current football structure has halted Ghana’s progress, which has led to its poor performance at recent major tournaments.

According to the former Hearts coach, it would be very vital for football administrators to learn how things were done in the past to help Ghana reclaim its stature as an African football heavyweight.

Mohammed Polo, in an interview with GNA Sports, noted that the recent poor display of the Black Stars at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), was a testament to the weak local league system.

He noted that the reliance on foreign coaches to help in the formulation of a football identity was not the ideal way, stressing?that there were equally good local coaches who could lead the transformation agenda.

‘Getting a vivid football identity that runs through our local league and juvenile system would be key to changing our dwindling fortunes,’ Polo said.

He indicated that ‘The core of building our very solid nation
al team would depend on getting strong local players who understand our system and getting a few foreign players to add up, like the South Africans are doing.

‘The league system forms the basis of how we develop our football, and we need an experienced coach to identify players who fit the system.’ he told GNA Sports.

Polo recalled that the likes of the late Sam Arday have used this approach in the past, which yielded results, emphasising that revisiting such measures would be key to revitalising Ghana football.

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When asked about the Ghana Football Association’s plans to appoint a new coach after the dismissal of Chris Hughton, Polo asserted that there was no need to rush the process of appointing a coach.

‘We are in a crisis, and it has to be given sometime for us to get the right person for the job, but in the interim, we can get a stop-gap coach to handle our coming matches.

‘We need a broader stakeholder consultation where we meet and discuss the kind of coach we would want for the Black Stars in t
he long term. We have wasted time and money with the appointment of foreign coaches, and that shouldn’t be the way,’ he said.

‘It is not that we, the local coaches, can’t do the job, but it is like we don’t believe in ourselves,’ Polo stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency