FIFA approved the 48-country World Cup for 2026: how will it be played?

FIFA approved this Tuesday the new format for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico, which will feature 48 teamsdivided into 12 groups, and will have a total of 104 games.

The FIFA Council defined it unanimously in a meeting in Kigali, the capital of Rwandabut the president of the entity, Gianni Infantino, had already anticipated it during the development of the Qatar 2022 World Cup that the Argentine National Team won.

The 2026 World Cup will take place with 12 groups of four teams for which 104 matches will be played over the 40 days How long will the competition last?

In the initial phase they will all face each other in each zone (three games each) and the first two per group will qualify, in addition to the eight best third-placed.

The 32 selected that advance to the final draw will begin the direct elimination duels from the 16th place and not from the eighth placeas was the case until the World Cup event in Qatar, while the title clash will be on July 19, 2026 and the champion will play eight games in the tournament.

Consequently, the finalists will go on to play 8 games in total instead of the usual 7. In addition, FIFA announced that the 56-day window for the World Cup (between preparation and post) will be maintained, something that the clubs had claimed so as not to lose the players and that it was quite a controversy before Qatar 2022 due to injuries.

According to FIFA, this new design “mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all teams play a minimum of three matches” and at the same time “provides a balanced rest time between competing teams”.

Although Argentina does not have representatives on the FIFA Council, for the Congress they traveled on President of the AFA, Claudio Tapia; the general secretary, Víctor Blanco; the secretary, Luciano Nakis; and the president of Huracán, David Garzón, as representative of the First Division.

Thus, from the next contest, The places will be distributed as follows:

  • Uefa it will go from 13 to 16 selections;
  • Africafrom 5 to 9;
  • Asiafrom 4.5 to 8;
  • conmebol from 4.5 to 6;
  • concacaffrom 3.5 to 6;
  • Oceaniafrom 0.5 to 1.

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