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World Cup 2026 to feature 48 teams

Beefy

Life President
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
18,906
Location
Old Leigh
Looks like this has been voted through and is official. It looks like there will be 16 Groups of Three in the first round. Draws will be settled by penalties.

Top two in each group go through to a 32 team knock-out round. So there's one extra knock-out game and a reduced group stage.

I'm pretty certain that the reaction here will be along the lines of the negativity already being seen in the media and social media however I think I'm supportive of the change. 32 teams isn't a magic number and with just 13(?) European qualification places under the current format it underlines that for most teams you can't currently take qualification for granted. Euro 2016 was a horrible tournament but that was a textbook example of how not to handle a tournament expansion in that they took the safest decisions possible in how it was structured resulting in two weeks of dull group games before anything really happened.

Being English and therefore bitterly opposed to any change I don't like penalties to decide drawn matches but pragmatically it does resolve the main problem with the three team groups which was a format that encouraged negative football. With no draws allowed you've a short group stage with little or no margin for error and then you're straight into the meat of the tournament.
 

londonblue

Topgun Pilot
Joined
Feb 18, 2004
Messages
17,062
I don't think I'm for or against at the moment, but one thing that strikes me as odd is that with 48 teams qualifying for the finals, about 1/4 of the world will qualify.

It's not really a finals any more.
 

Floval Flyer

Licensed to ill⭐
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
6,308
Location
Leigh On Sea
I don't think I'm for or against at the moment, but one thing that strikes me as odd is that with 48 teams qualifying for the finals, about 1/4 of the world will qualify.

It's not really a finals any more.

Bet Scotland still won't qualify though !!
 
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