World Cup 2030: Morocco, Spain and Paraguay to host with South America twist

  • 2030 World Cup to be staged across several continents for first time ever
  • Opening three games to be played in South America to mark centenery of tournament
  • Argentina the current holders after beating France in 2022 final

The World Cup will be staged in three different continents
The World Cup will be staged in three different continents / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Morocco, Spain and Portugal will host the 2030 World Cup, but the first three matches of the tournament will be played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the tournament.

The latter three countries had hoped to host the tournament in its entirety, but instead the competition will be predominantly be played in Europe and North Africa - the first ever edition to be held across multiple continents.

The Athletic report that the opening ceremony will still take place in Morocco, Spain and Portugal, with the remainder of the tournament to be played in those three countries after Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay have opened their respective accounts.

All six countries automatically qualify for the World Cup as a result - another unprecedented first - and marks the first time that Morocco have been successful in bidding for the tournament after five previous attempts failed.

Portugal will also be first-time hosts, with failed bids to stage 2018 and 2022 in their back pocket, but Spain have history of staging the tournament back in 1982.

Argentina are the current World Cup holders after seeing off France in a thrilling penalty shootout at the back end of 2022 - victory finally ending Lionel Messi's quest to win international football's most prestigious prize following defeat in the 2014 final against Germany.

With FIFA's continent rotation policy in mind, bids from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) are likely to be considered for 2034.

Where is the 2026 FIFA World Cup?

Argentina lift the World Cup in 2022
Argentina lift the World Cup in 2022 / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Before the fun gets underway across multiple continents, there's the small matter of the 2026 World Cup hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Their joint-bid saw off competition from Morocco, polling 134 votes to 65. There was one vote for neither of the bids and three others abstained.

World Cup venues - Canada

  • BC Place (Vancouver, 54,500 capacity)
  • BMO Field (Toronto, 45,500 capacity)

World Cup venues - Mexico

  • Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, 87,523 capacity)
  • Estadio BBVA (Monterrey, 53,460 capacity)
  • Estadio Akron (Guadalajara, 48,071 capacity)

World Cup venues - United States of America

  • AT&T Stadium (Dallas, 92,967 capacity)
  • MetLife Stadium (New York/New Jersey, 87,157 capacity)
  • Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas, 76,640 capacity)
  • Mercedez-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, 75,000 capacity)
  • NRG Stadium (Houston, 72,220 capacity)
  • Levi's Stadium (San Francisco, 70,909 capacity)
  • SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles, 70,240 capacity)
  • Gillette Stadium (Boston, 70,000 capacity)
  • Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, 69,328 capacity)
  • Lumen Field (Seattle, 69,000 capacity)
  • Hard Rock Stadium (Miami, 67,518 capacity)

2026 World Cup format

In January 2017, the FIFA Council voted unanimously to increase the number of teams participating from 32 to 48. That decision was met with criticism, especially from organisations in Europe, and marks the first time that the tournament has been expanded since 1998.

There will be 12 groups of four teams - the top two will automatically progress through to the knockout stages and the eight best third-placed teams will make up a newly introduced round of 32. Knockout football will then take place, leaving the finalists to play eight games across the duration of the competition.