International Football News
FIFA approves new format for the 2026 World Cup
The FIFA Council has decided to switch back to the four-team group format for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup, which is taking place in the usa, Canada, and Mexico, will be the first edition to feature 48 teams, expanded from 32.
The competition was due to feature 16 groups of three, however, the success of the four-team format at the 2022 World Cup in qatar caused the governing body to ditch its initial plan.
The FIFA council meeting that took place in Rwanda on Tuesday decided to switch to 12 groups of four with the top two and eight best third-placed teams will progress to a new round-of-32-stage.
The new format will see the competition expand from its projected 80 matches to 104, with teams now will have to play eight matches to win the tournament, compared to seven at the last seven editions.
“The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches while providing balanced rest time between competing teams,” FIFA statement read.
Another reason that motivated FIFA to switch back to a four-team group format is to ensure that the final round of group games will be played simultaneously which will reduce the chance of unwanted collision.
With extra games and teams, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be played across 39 days, at least one week more than the previous five tournaments. Therefore, FIFA decided to reduce the pre-tournament release period to 16 from 23.
The allocations of guaranteed places in the 2026 FIFA World Cup for each confederation are as follows:
– Eight guaranteed places for the afc
– Nine guaranteed places for the caf
– Six guaranteed places for the CONCACAF
– Six guaranteed places for the CONMEBOL
– 16 guaranteed places for the UEFA
– One guaranteed place for the OFC
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