Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in plans to open 2026 World Cup - Decio De Maria
MOSCOW -- Mexico federation president Decio de Maria gave a strong hint that Estadio Azteca will be the setting for the opening game of the 2026 World Cup.
The joint bid from United States, Mexico and Canada won Wednesday's vote in Moscow to host the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup and De Maria hinted that Mexico, which will host 10 of the 80 games, may have won its battle to host the inaugural match.
"We should send Estadio Azteca a bouquet of flowers because of all the 23 stadiums that make up [this candidature], it is the grandaddy," De Maria said. "It'll be the third World Cup for the Estadio Azteca, its third inauguration.
"I believe you have to dote on grandparents, we have to respect and applaud them."
The United bid's plan called for each country to host one game on the tournament's opening day, with the "main" opening match to be in either Mexico City or Los Angeles.
And De Maria suggested that an agreement had been struck for Estadio Azteca to open the World Cup for the third time, after the country also hosted in 1970 and 1986, but admitted that FIFA needs to give its approval.
"Whether we open or close, that is something that FIFA will have to decide," he said. "We'll obviously work together, but it is a topic that will be answered in coming months."
Mexico legend Jorge Campos was delighted at the news and suggested El Tri would be home wherever it plays.
"This will do a lot to grow football for the kids and sharing it and being united with the United States and Canada is huge and special," Campos told ESPN.
The 51-year-old former goalkeeper/striker was also buoyant about Mexico's chances in eight years.
"I think if we plan well with a program to arrive at 2026, I think Mexico has a good chance of winning the cup," he said.