FIFA announces new expanded format for the 2026 World Cup
World football governing body, FIFA, on Tuesday announced the new format for the 2026 World Cup which will be an expanded tournament featuring 48 teams.
Its new blueprint for the event will see a 104 matches taking place, a huge rise compared to the 64 games played in the 2022 tournament.
“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,” said FIFA.
The new format also means the top two in each group will go through to the knockout round, along with the eight best third-placed sides.
While the duration of the North American tournament is not yet known, participants will be joining their squads on 25 May for a shortened preparation period.
The number of venues will double in 2026 from 8 stadiums in Qatar to 16, of which 11 will be in the United States, 3 in Mexico, and 2 in Canada.
It has not yet been decided which of the 16 cities will host the final, which will take place on Sunday 19 July.