JONES: FIFA takes part in World Cup qualifiers at the Commonwealth Stadium

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FIFA has brought forward the Canada-USA-Mexico World Cup 2026 site inspection to bring their review team to Edmonton to witness the scene of a potentially sold-out Commonwealth stadium

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It all comes together.

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When Alphonso Davies and the Canadian players arrive here on Sunday and Monday for the third qualifying window for the FIFA World Cup ™, it will be almost like a picture book. And behind the scenes things have happened this week that are expected to make a big deal, too.

As this column has learned, FIFA has moved ahead of the 2026 Canada-US-Mexico World Cup site inspection to bring their review team to Edmonton to catch the scene of a potentially sold-out Commonwealth stadium for the November 16 game against the 16-time World Cup qualifier Mexico.

There is also evidence that the provincial government, inexplicably invisible up to this point, is finally coming into play, allegedly asking to be involved in the site inspection process you would consider an absolute no-brainer.

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That could be closer.

Up to this point, the Feds have signed and the city has backed the offer. However, it is common knowledge that Edmonton was still seeking the support of the Alberta government.

Nothing is on paper yet. So we’ll wait and see, but Edmonton, make no mistake, with more than 100,000 fans for these two games, the city would put the city in a highly visible position to possibly host the opening game of the World Cup, which has expanded from 32 to 48, where the semi-finals and the final will almost certainly be played in Mexico and the USA.

Looking at the bigger picture, the symmetry involved would be exquisite and now that’s definitely part of what seems to be happening here. Christine Sinclair and the Brazilian Marta, who was presented here at the first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2002, gave Edmonton one of the most beautiful moments in the city when she scored the winning goal from a penalty in the 91st minute of the Opening game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup against China in front of 53,058 fans.

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Five years ago it was the mostly unknown Canadian teenager Davies that the Canadian Soccer Association brought to Moscow to present applications from three nations to host the 2026 World Cup.

Having him kick off 2026 would be perfect in many ways.

Davies, after being removed from a Bundesliga game with a hamstring in the 40th minute on October 16, started as a left-back for Bayern Munich on Tuesday and played well in the 5-2 win in the Champions League against Benfica.

In the 19th minute of the game on his 21st birthday, from about 20 yards away, Davies created a unique chance to score the game’s first goal but didn’t get his name on the score sheet before being substituted off with the score 4-1 in the 65th minute.

Edmonton’s international soccer superstar has never played a paying customer in his hometown, will play a Bundesliga game against FC Freiburg on Saturday and fly to Edmonton on Sunday.

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He is expected to spend the evening and most of Monday returning home at the family home in northeast Edmonton before joining his team in preparation, in front of a forecast total of more than 100,000 spectators for his first two games at the Play Commonwealth Stadium.

Many of Davies’ Europe-based Canadian teammates will also play on Saturday and fly here on Sunday for the November 12 game against Costa Rica and the November 16 game against Mexico.

Other members of John Herdman’s two-win, four-draw Canadian team play Major League Soccer in Canada and the United States, completing their regular season schedules on Sunday at the same time as football tradition and flying here on Monday.

Herdman and his staff arrive on Friday to set everything up at the hotel and then at the stadium after the Elks check out after their last home game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.

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Herdman will bring the team together for training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the game against five-time World Cup qualifier Costa Rica on Friday. The long-term forecast predicts a game time temperature between +1 ° C and -7 ° C – which is not bad unless you are from Costa Rica.

Also in time is a third party economic impact study that has been completed and forecasts $ 600 million for the region to play on the grass pitch that will be installed at the Commonwealth Stadium for football and the 2026 CFL season target.

“It is estimated that more than four billion people will watch the 2026 World Cup,” said Janelle Janis of Explore Edmonton, the Canadian Soccer Association’s key partner in putting these two games together, which will turn Edmonton into a prime-time player in the second largest sporting event in the world World could make the planet the Olympics.
“The results for the development of football on the prairies would be monumental,” said Janis.
“Edmonton would be next to superstar cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. When do we get into the same conversation as you? “

It is not often that two CONCACAF qualifiers attract the attention of the football world. But the Davies homecoming looks like they will.

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