FIFA to add four-team groups and 104 matches to the 2026 World Cup.
FIFA is about to change its mind about the 2026 World Cup. However, doing so will expand the tournament even further.
On the field, the Qatar 2022 World Cup was a resounding success. However, much was emphasized on the fact that this would be the tournament’s final “normal” edition.
That’s because FIFA previously declared that the group stage for the 2026 edition, which will be in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, will feature 48 teams.
FIFA, however, decided that 16 groups of three were a better idea than splitting the teams into 12 groups of four.
Even though the modification did not receive much support, it was brought up during the most recent competition.
The final round of group games happening simultaneously is vivid for its thrills and dangers. That could not occur with groups of three.
Additionally, there is the matter of fairness. Playing separate games lessens the possibility of two parties cooperating to achieve the desired result.
FIFA appears to be planning a U-turn in a rare instance of the organization reading the room.
On Tuesday in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, the FIFA Council will vote to approve the decision to reinstate four-team groups.
However, even though there will still be 48 teams competing in the 2026 World Cup, the tournament’s new group structure will result in a record-breaking 104 games.
The Qatar World Cup, in contrast, featured 64 games. While the 2026 tournament would have included 80 matches in three-team groups.
The pre-tournament release period, used by athletes and teams to get ready, will be cut down to accommodate the extended schedule.
The distribution of the games among the host nations is still a mystery. With 10 games each for Canada and Mexico, the US is ready to host 60 matches.
According to Tuesday’s statement from CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, the modification may result in the scheduling of six group-stage contests on the same day.