Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The 2026 World Cup will include 12 groups of four teams each: FIFA

World Cup 2026 to feature 12 groups of four teams: FIFA

 KIGALI: FIFA, the world's governing body of football, made the announcement on Tuesday that the expanded 2026 men's World Cup in North America will begin with 12 groups of four teams, rather than the 16 groups of three teams that were originally planned.

"The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all teams play at least three matches while providing balanced rest time between competing teams," FIFA stated of the format for the first World Cup, which will feature 48 teams, up from 32 at the most recent tournament in Qatar.

This indicates that 104 matches will be played, a significant increase from the 64 games played at the tournament last year.

The World Cup in 2026, which will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, was originally planned to have 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams moving on to the last 32.

The eight best teams in third place, in addition to the top two teams in each group, will advance to the knockout stage under the new decided format.

As a result, instead of the current seven games, the finalists, third-place teams, and fourth-place teams will play eight games.

FIFA decided to change its mind after a dramatic group stage at the tournament in Qatar convinced them.

In December, FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated, "The groups of four have been absolutely incredible until the last minute of the last match."

Tuesday's choice was declared following a FIFA Gathering meeting in the Rwandan capital Kigali, at which it affirmed the following men's Reality Cup last will be played on Sunday, July 19, 2026.

At the FIFA Congress on Thursday, Infantino, who is running unopposed for re-election, is expected to be accepted into office for a second four-year term as president.

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