The Football World Cup will have another face in the next edition in 2026. According to the New York Times, the format of four-team pools will be maintained.
A meeting was arranged with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the presidents of the six confederations (UEFA, Conmebol, Concacaf, CAF, AFC, OFC). The subject of the exceptional meeting is the 2026 World Cup which will expand to 48 teams. This is a first in the history of the competition. This measure, which will therefore take effect in 2026, will undoubtedly upset the world of football.
Previously to 32 teams, this modification already brings extraordinary changes. First of all, the duration of the competition will not be the same as the previous ones. According to The New York Times, the nations are expected to decide on around 56 days compared to 31 in Qatar in 2022. If confirmed, it will be the longest World Cup in history. This risks upsetting the whole of the Championships, the preparation of the players and the coaches who will have to take these new elements into account.
According to the American daily, the format of the groups should be kept and broken down into 12 groups. FIFA at the time had envisaged that the nations be dispatched in pools of 3. In total, there will be 104 matches. For comparison, in the last World Cup there were almost 64 games. The top two from each group would qualify for the finals along with the top 8 3rds according to David Ornstein, a football correspondent at The Athletic.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will take place in three countries: the United States, Mexico and Canada. This is the second time that the United States has hosted this competition on its soil (1994) and the third for Mexico (1970 and 1986). However, this is a first for Canada.
Due to the new World Cup format, the full schedule has not been released. The date of the final is however known. It will be played on Sunday July 19, 2026 according to David Ornstein.