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New World Cup format confirmed for 2026

new world cup format

More teams and more games.

A new World Cup format has been confirmed for 2026, with some fairly severe changes being made to how the competition operates.

24 more games will take place and 14 more teams will take part at the competition that will take place across Mexico, Canada and the United States.

48 teams will play 104 games over as many as 40 days in three countries — with champions and the runner-ups each playing eight games instead of the current seven.

There was due to be an increase in the number of teams at the tournament and the number of games being played, but according to a report in the New York Times, the increase is going to be even more than what was originally proposed.

The report states that there will be now be a total of 104 World Cup matches would be a significant increase from previous plans that had called for 80 games, and 40 more than last year’s tournament in Qatar.

New World Cup format

This means that the World Cup in 2026 will be the first World Cup with 48 teams, expanded from the current 32-nation competition that has been in place since 1998.

It has been reported that while certain footballing bodies may see this as a bad idea, it is likely to be approved as it gives more teams a chance at competing in one of the biggest sporting and cultural events in the calendar.

Critics of the proposal will point to the success and excitement of the World Cup in Qatar that took place just a few short months ago, and will question whether or not there is a need to change anything when it is clearly already an entertaining product.

An announcement is expected from Fifa at some point this week.

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