U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

Next World Cup in 2026 to be Hosted by Canada, Mexico, United States

Written by:

Soccer madness will grip the planet from November 20 to December 18 after 206 of 227 of the world’s countries fought to qualify for the World Cup: 32 teams made it.

As the 2022 tournament’s host country, Qatar automatically qualified. The same will apply in 2026, when host countries Canada, Mexico, and the United States will all be guaranteed slots.

32 Teams From 31 Countries?

The 32 teams hail from 31 countries. How can there be more teams than countries?

When one of the countries is the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Teams from England and Wales made the cut and are both in Group B with Iran and Team USA. England and Wales will play each other on November 29. And yes, there is a chance that these U.K. teams could face off in the Final on December 18.

The most populous country, the United States, set to host the World Cup in 2026, is 134.5 times more populous than the smallest country, Qatar, this year’s host. 

The four teams in each group play each of the other three teams once. The two with the best record (or tie-breaking stats) move on.

Score Points in the World Cup

Think you know the soccer rankings of countries in the World Cup? How about their population rankings? See if you can be the champion of the World Cup Population bracketology game below.

Who Are Major World Cup Winners?

Only eight countries have won the 21 previous World Cups (1942 and 1946 were canceled due to WWII). All are competing in 2022 except for Italy, which did not qualify. The winners are listed below by most titles and by year. Note: Host countries have won six times.

International Database Loaded With Stats by Country

The Census Bureau’s International Database (IDB) can tell us a lot about how the 31 countries in the World Cup rank by population, growth rate, density, fertility, life expectancy and other measures.

For example, the table below shows their populations from largest to smallest. The most populous country, the United States, set to host the World Cup in 2026, is 134.5 times more populous than the smallest country, Qatar, this year’s host. 

But as this table shows, South Korea is the most densely populated of the competing nations. with 534.9 people per square kilometer. That’s 157.3 times denser than Australia, which is the most sparsely populated of the countries, with 3.4 people per square kilometer.

More Fun Facts About World Cup Soccer

  • Thirteen teams competed in the first World Cup in 1930. Host Uruguay won.
  • From 1934 to 1978, the number climbed to 16 teams. (And by 1970, Brazil had three titles.)
  • From 1982 to 1994, the number increased to 24 teams.
  • From 1998 to 2022, the number grew to 32 teams.
  • In 2026, FIFA, the international football governing body, plans to increase the number to 48 teams.
  • Europe has hosted the World Cup 11 times.
  • South America has hosted the World Cup five times.
  • North America has hosted the World Cup three times.
  • Asia has hosted the World Cup twice.
  • Africa hosted the World Cup once. 
  • The team with the most top four finishes (5) to not win the World Cup: Netherlands.
  • Brazil's Pelé is the only player who has claimed three World Cup winners' medals (1958, 1962, and 1970).
  • Brazil has competed in all 21 World Cups and won five titles.
  • Germany has competed in 19 World Cups and won four titles.
  • Italy has competed in 18 World Cups and won four titles.
  • The United States has competed in 11 World Cups. It has not won any titles but finished third in the first World Cup in 1930.

Derick C. Moore is a senior communications specialist in the Census Bureau's Communications Directorate.

This story was filed under:



Our email newsletter is sent out on the day we publish a story. Get an alert directly in your inbox to read, share and blog about our newest stories.

Contact our Public Information Office for media inquiries or interviews.


Back to Header