FIFA changes WC format and prepares for centenary of tournament!

FIFA changes WC format and prepares for centenary of tournament!

At another meeting of FIFA, the issue was resolved regarding the format of the 2026 World Cup, which for the first time in history will be held with 48 participants! As a result, we will see 12 groups of four teams. The list of potential hosts for the 2030 World Cup has also been finalized.

From 1998 to 2022 The World Cups were held with 32 teams - they formed eight quartets of four participants. A whole generation of football fans got used to this and considered this formula to be perfect. But FIFA representatives had a different opinion, and on January 10, 2017, they decided on the World Cup with 48 teams. They believed that an increase in the number of participants in the World Cup would significantly expand the geography of the tournament, and the increased number of matches would only make the fest more ambitious.

At first, officials came up with an absolutely wild format with sixteen groups of three participants, where the worst teams are eliminated, and the rest make up the round of 32. However, FIFA refused such a decision - nevertheless, in the third round, the teams that solved their tournament problems could meet, from which their head-to-head duel would turn into a formality.

And so, Gianni Infantino and the company agreed and adopted a new scheme, namely, 12 groups of four teams. The two strongest teams from each quartet, as well as the eight best third places, advance to the next stage. As a result, the number of matches will increase to 104, and the tournament itself will stretch over 39 days, which will be an absolute record. Let us remind you that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by three countries of the CONCACAF region - Canada, the USA and Mexico.

But the hosts of the next world forum have not yet been chosen. It will be very symbolic if in the year of the centenary of the tournament, as in 1930, Uruguay will host it, along with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. The application of representatives of the three confederations - Greece, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, looks exotic. And from Europe, Spain and Portugal, plus Morocco, which has joined them, will join the fight for the World Cup. At first, Ukraine was the third participant in the application, but due to various internal problems (war, scandals with the president of the association Pavelko), they decided to withdraw her candidacy.

The time of conservatism in football has passed, and we constantly see various innovations in it. In a year and a half, European competitions will start in a new format, the next World Cup will also be revolutionary, and three hosts of world forums will become the norm rather than the exception to the rule.