The World Cup is set for a BIG expansion: FIFA prepares to approve plans to have 104 games (up from 64) and 16 more teams, starting with the 2026 tournament in the US, Canada and Mexico
- FIFA is ready to change its plans for the 2026 World Cup once again
- They had launched a three-team group stage, but are set to go back to four.
- You will see 104 games throughout the tournament in the US, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA is set to announce a big expansion for the 2026 World Cup, returning to a four-team group stage that will see 104 games in the entire tournament.
The next edition of the Jules Rimet Trophy will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico in four years with 48 teams set to compete for the first time, although there has been much talk about a new format with 16 groups with three teams.
However, FIFA is understood to have been reconsidering the proposal in recent months amid fears it could lead to less exciting games.
Now the athletic have reported that FIFA will confirm that they plan to have four teams in each group, leading to a total of 104 games in the tournament, up from 64.
The proposed format would make the World Cup the longest and biggest to date.
Soccer’s governing body will confirm the plans at a FIFA Council meeting on Tuesday in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, where the bosses met for their annual congress on Thursday.
The 2026 World Cup format is set to return to a four-team group stage, reports claim
The plans will be confirmed at a FIFA Council on the Tuesday before the tournament in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the image, the MetLife stadium in New York.
The new proposals would see 12 groups of four teams each, with the top two advancing to the knockout rounds. The eight best third-placed finishers would join them in the next stage.
At the recent 2022 World Cup in Qatar, underdogs like Japan and South Korea advanced to the round of 16, while big names like Germany, Belgium and Uruguay were sent home after losing out on second place by narrow margins.
But after the success of the Qatar tournament and the exciting nature of the dramatic group stage, which featured four teams, FIFA was forced to reassess its plans, with president Gianni Infantino admitting he would ‘reconsider’ the idea.
Infantino said: “I have to say that after this World Cup and the success of the groups of four, and looking also at other competitions like the Euro Cup, for example, where you have 24 teams and the top two plus the best third-placed go.” to the next stage.
“Here the groups of four have been absolutely incredible in the sense that until the last minute of the last game you don’t know who passes.
‘We will have to review or at least re-discuss the format, whether we go for 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four. This is something that will certainly be on the agenda for future meetings.’
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino previously admitted he would ‘rethink’ the idea of three-team groups.