World Cup going from compact to super-sized in 2026 | Football News

TORONTO: As the most compact World Cup ever reached its climax in Qatar on Sunday, the baton will be passed to 2026 co-hosts, the United States, Mexico and Canada, for what will be a global showcase big football with more matches and trips. – and much more beer.
After controversially awarding the 2022 host duties to Qatar, a country smaller than the state of Connecticut, football’s governing body FIFA will grow in 2026, increasing the number of teams by 32 at 48 with matches in three nations and as many time zones.
The last time Mexico (1986) and USA (1994) held a World Cup, there were 24 teams.
With 16 cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico hosting games, the logistics will be mind-boggling even before adding 48 team training bases.
The 2026 tournament will return to its traditional summer window after being played in November and December in Qatar to avoid the scorching temperatures of June and July. Most of the competition will take place in the United States, where 11 cities from New York to Los Angeles will get 60 of the 80 games, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.
Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey are the Mexican venues, with Toronto and Vancouver getting Canada’s hosting responsibilities.
While Qatar’s World Cup has at times been overshadowed by the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers and its approach to LGBTQ rights and other restrictive social laws, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino said praised the action on the pitch, describing the group stage as the best ever. .
This proven format of eight groups of four teams, which has captivated hundreds of millions of fans, could be torn apart for 2026 as FIFA plans to have 16 groups of three teams in the first phase.
More teams will mean more surprises, such as Saudi Arabia beating Argentina in their first group match, says Juergen Klinsmann, who won a World Cup with Germany and later coached the national team male from the United States.
“We are going to see more surprises coming from Africa and Asia in the tournament (2026),” Klinsmann, the head of FIFA’s technical group, told reporters in Qatar.
The 32-team World Cup in Qatar has a total of 64 matches, played over 29 days, and so far the 2026 final will be 80 matches over 32 days.
With groups of four teams, there would be 104 matches, requiring at least an extra week.
More matches, however, would mean more money for television rights and, with the World Cup bringing in around 90% of FIFA’s revenue, its leaders will be tempted.
The World Cup in Qatar brought in $7.5 billion in rights and sponsorship revenue, a billion more than the 2018 final in Russia, FIFA said last month.
One sponsor almost certainly looking forward to 2026 is Budweiser, the official beer of the World Cup, which had stadium taps turned off by Qatari officials days before the start. The first World Cup hosted in a conservative Muslim country with strict alcohol controls, it was a challenge to find beer or booze in Qatar and when you did it was expensive. But in 2026, taps will be flowing in 20 stadiums with fan zones filled with thirsty supporters.


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