World Cup 2026: Tournament to increase by 40 matches to 104 fixtures as part of 48-team expansion | Football News
FIFA is ready to approve an expansion of the boys’s World Cup with 40 extra matches from the 2026 match in North America.
The resolution to develop from 64 to 104 matches – somewhat than the 80 initially deliberate in 2026 – is due to come at a gathering of the governing physique’s ruling council in Kigali, Rwanda.
Adding matches helps FIFA chase its goal of greater than £9bn in income however it additionally solves format points for the occasion being co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA had already agreed to enlarge the match from 32 to 48 groups.
Rather than having 16 teams every that includes three groups, FIFA can have 12 teams every with 4 international locations, sources say.
The mixed quantity of relaxation, launch and match days stays the identical as earlier World Cups in 2010, 2014 and 2018 – 56 days.
The prime two groups will advance to a spherical of 32 with the eight greatest third-placed groups.
It means groups reaching the ultimate will now have to play eight matches, somewhat than the seven performed by Qatar 2022 finalists Argentina and France.
The last within the United States is due to be on Sunday July 19, 2026.
Why FIFA had a ‘rethink’ over World Cup format
Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh (*104*):
“FIFA had a problem because this is going to be the first World Cup with 48 teams so they were trying to work out how it was going to be organised.
“It was going to be 16 teams of three groups and you might have had the scenario the place two groups would have solely performed two video games earlier than being knocked out and going residence.
“FIFA had a rethink, which was accelerated by the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA thought the Qatar World Cup was exciting, there was so much jeopardy and so much at stake.
“That’s why they’ve had a take a look at it once more and at this FIFA Council assembly in Rwanda, it’s going to be formally authorised.
“A lot of traditionalists will say they are unhappy with 48 teams because it is too many teams and the quality is going to suffer. It is also bad for the environment having more teams flying around Mexico, Canada and the USA.
“The different argument, although, is that FIFA is made of 211 totally different international locations and of these international locations solely 78 have ever performed within the World Cup so that they have been lobbying FIFA to say they want to have an opportunity to play within the World Cup in any other case their requirements of soccer aren’t going to enhance.
“If you look at the slot allocation, at the World Cup in Qatar we only had five countries from Africa even though there are 54 African countries that are members of FIFA.
“Their slot allocation goes to go up from 5 to 9, there are actually going to be eight groups from Asia, six groups from Concacaf so for those who take off your blinkers and take a look at soccer not simply from a western European perspective, the remaining of the world – properly, the folks I communicate to – do like that the World Cup will likely be expanded and it actually would be the World Cup.”