Confirmed: World Cup Expansion in 2026!


FIFA Council unanimously votes to expand the World Cup Finals tournament to 48 teams in 2026.

South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale (L) hugs FIFA President Gianni Infantino after a meeting of the FIFA Council on October 14, 2016 at the world football’s governing body headquarters in Zurich. / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI

What’s the gist?

Come the 2026 edition (perhaps in the US??), the field expands from 32 teams in the finals to 48. This would comprise of 16 groups of 3, guaranteeing only 2 games per team. The single elimination games will start with 32 teams instead of 16. Doing so fulfills the campaign promise made by Gianni Infantino to the African and Asian federations to have a more inclusive World Cup.

My take…
Pros: involving more countries from around the world, more single elimination games which means more drama
Cons: dilutes the qualifying campaign for many parts of the world, one less guaranteed game per team, reduction of quality, breaking something that seemed perfect.

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