02 January 2023

Needing of a new format

The 32 teams at the World Cup finals in 2022 was the last time we ever saw, thus from the 2026 edition we will have 48 participants. It means that 16 new teams would play at the finals, but now the problem arise is how to adapt the new format.
Somewhere this year it will be decided that and for now there are two options. Either to have 16 groups with 3 teams or 12 of 4 sides in it. The first scenario says that the top two finishers in the group would travel to the first knockout stage (which is still favoured by the world football organization), while the second looks to qualify the first two teams of the groups together with the eight-best third-place participants that will reach the round of 32. By increasing the number of teams it is already known how much new ones will enter from each confederation: 4 from Africa / Asian and Europe would have 3 / North, Central America and the Caribbean region together with the South neighbour will have 2 new sides / 1 from Oceania plus 1 team would come from an intercontinental play off.
From trouble we are going to complexity: in the end we are going to have totally 104 duels played (rise from 64 from the last event) and in the group stage we will have 72 matches (out of 48). Another sweet problem is that all duels have to be adjusted to the European viewers knowing that in three years time games would kick-off in many different time zones.
Qualifying plays for 2026 is quickly approaching and would start on 23 March with the two American continents. We will see each of the host countries at the main finals: Canada, United States of America and Mexico.


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