Edmonton’s 2026 World Cup ambitions boosted with award of key Canada national team matches

Edmonton, Canada – October 7, 2021 – In a great boost to the city’s ambitions to be a FIFA World Cup 2026 host city, Edmonton has been named as the venue for two crucial matches of the Canadian men’s national team, as they continue their drive to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022™.

Edmonton’s 56,000-seater Commonwealth Stadium will be the host venue as Canada comes up against Costa Rica and Mexico on November 12 and 16 respectively, in two matches likely to be crucial in determining the team’s fate. Canada is one of eight teams in the CONCACAF region battling it out to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022™, of which three will qualify automatically, with the fourth-place team advancing to an inter-continental play-off.

The timing of the news is a particular boost to Edmonton city leaders. November will also see the FIFA delegation visit Edmonton as part of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ venue inspections. This comes ahead of a decision on 2026 host cities expected to be made in the first quarter of next year. These matches will give the city the optimal opportunity to demonstrate the passion of Edmontonians for soccer, and welcome back star player Alphonso Davies, who grew up in the city.

Edmonton has continued to be a reliable host of sporting events during the Covid-19 pandemic, hosting the NHL Stanley Cup finals in a Covid-secure bubble, and welcoming major international events such as the World Triathlon Championship Finals and HSBC Rugby Sevens Series finale in recent months.

But it is with soccer that the city has a particular affinity and successful track record. Having hosted numerous matches in the 2002 FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Edmonton has been a key part of the growth of soccer in Western Canada. The opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup 2026 matches is seen as the next natural step in their progression, and one that the city is determined to make the most of.

Upon the news of the FIFA World Cup 2022™ Qualification matches coming to the city, Janelle Janis, Director of Edmonton Events, commented:

“This is a fantastic boost for the city, and testament to our efforts in attracting and delivering the best and biggest international sports events in the world. Following the success of our women’s soccer team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the men’s team is also on a rapid rise, and to be a part of their efforts to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022™, is a huge honor that we take very seriously.”

“Here in Edmonton, we have a proud history of hosting and developing soccer at all levels, and continuing this movement remains an important objective going forward. Our next major ambition is naturally to be confirmed as a host city of the FIFA World Cup 2026™, and we are more committed than ever to utilize this and provide the ultimate platform for soccer to shine.”

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