FIFA confirms 48 teams to feature in the 2026 World Cup with 32 to head to the knockouts


The 2026 FIFA World Cup will feature a record 48 teams, rather than the usual 32 teams.

The revised format is going to have four groups with 12 teams. Mexico and the United States of America are set to host the quadrennial event which is projected to have a record 104 games.

Initially, the world governing body of football said the 2026 World Cup would have three groups with 16 teams. However, looking at the success of the four-team format, FIFA has decided to continue with it.

According to the new format, the top two teams from each group and eight third-place teams are set to make the knockout stage that will feature 32 teams. The 2026 World Cup will be played across 16 cities. The decision to extend the teams in the tournament was officially announced at the FIFA council meeting in Rwanda.

“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 world football’s governing body.

During the meeting, FIFA announced the men’s international calendar from 2025-2030. According to the official calendar, the World Cup Final is set to be played on July 19, 2026. The new format means that a team will have to win eight games to win the World Cup.

Aside from the newly introduced format in the World Cup. FIFA also announced a 32-team FIFA Club World Cup, which is set to be introduced in 2025. The current version of the Club World Cup is set to end in 2023. Two clubs per country are set to feature in the competition based on the club’s success in the European competition. Chelsea is one English team that is set to play in the first edition of the Club World Cup.

The details of the location still need to be discussed but it has been agreed that a 32-team Club World Cup tournament will go ahead, making it like a World Cup.” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. A total of 12 teams are set to feature from Europe.

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