FIFA World Cup Format To Change From 2026
The world football governing body, FIFA, confirmed on Tuesday that the 2026 FIFA World Cup would retain the four-team group’s format as seen in the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Initially, the plan was that there would be 16 groups of three teams at the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This is because the tournament has been expanded from 32 teams to 48 teams for the first time in the tournament’s history.
However, the world football governing body changed its mind since the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s four-team format was a success.
This decision was made at the Fifa council meeting in Rwanda on Tuesday.
The expanded edition of the World Cup starting in 2026 means that the number of matches will increase from the anticipated 80 to 104, including a new round-of-32 stage.
The top two teams and the eight best third-placed teams, according to Fifa, would advance to the round of 32.
“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 announced on Tuesday.
Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, announced in December that the association was considering a format change after the group stages in Qatar saw several exciting games.
The four-team group system has been in use since the men’s World Cup’s expansion to 32 teams in 1998, with the top two teams moving on to the knockout rounds.
Under the new round-of-32 format, teams will need to play eight matches to win the competition, up from seven at the 2022 World Cup.
Based on the new schedule that Fifa approved for men’s international games from 2025 to 2030, the Fifa World Cup 2026 final will take place on Sunday, July 19, 2026.