World Cup 2026 to feature 12 groups of four teams: FIFA | Football News

KIGALI (Reuters) – The expanded 2026 men’s World Cup in North America will start with 12 groups of four teams, a change from the originally planned format of 16 groups of three, world governing body FIFA said on Tuesday. soccer.
“The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams,” FIFA said of the format for the inaugural FIFA World Cup. world to 48 teams, up from 32. teams in the recent tournament in Qatar.
This means there will be 104 games played, a huge increase from the 64 games in last year’s tournament.
FIFA’s initial plan for 2026, when the World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexicowas for 16 three-team groups, of which the top two would advance to the bottom 32.
The newly decided format means the top two from each group will advance to the knockout round along with the top eight third-placed teams.
As a result, the runners-up and teams finishing third and fourth will play a total of eight games instead of the current seven.
The decision comes after a dramatic group stage at the tournament in Qatar convinced FIFA that an overhaul was needed.
“The groups of four were absolutely incredible until the last minute of the last game,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in December.
Tuesday’s decision was announced following a FIFA Council meeting in the Rwandan capital Kigali, during which he confirmed that the next men’s World Cup final will be played on Sunday, July 19, 2026.
Infantino is set to be called up for another four-year term as president as he runs unopposed for re-election to FIFA on Thursday. Congress.


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