clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USMNT officially auto-qualifies for 2026 World Cup

It was long assumed, but now it’s official.

USA v Wales: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team can breathe easy. For the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT had to wait until the final matchday to secure qualification. For 2026, World Cup qualification came as Valentine’s Day gift for USMNT fans everywhere. Today, FIFA officially announced that the co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup - the United States, Canada, and Mexico - will qualify automatically for the tournament.

Most fans already know that host nations have automatically qualified for the World Cup in the past, but there hasn’t been a World Cup that have had 3 co-hosts before. With the tournament expanding to 48 teams, it was still assumed that the three co-hosts would not have to undergo qualifying. However, FIFA still had to confirm that, and they did so this morning, citing the “long standing tradition of having all hosts competing at the FIFA World Cup™” as well as “sporting and operational considerations.”

Concacaf, which has 6 automatic slots in the 2026 World Cup with the expanded field, will see its allocation cut in half as the USMNT, Canada, and Mexico take 3 of the spots. Still, the rest of the confederation will have a chance to qualify for the World Cup, especially with the 2 traditional powers of Concacaf - Mexico and the United States - not having to participate as well as Canada, who had the most points in 2022 World Cup qualifying. The three co-hosts will participate in friendlies while the rest of Concacaf endures the qualifying process.

Break out the “Qualified” banner in the comments!