World Cup 2026 - 48 teams

Bojan11

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And why being Portuguese has anything to do with a opinion? We had yesterday more than 600 hundred passes and Iran not even 200 hundred and suddenly they deserved to win?

So what about the last Euros? There were others were we played great and didn't won nothing, I am talking more teams less quality.

By the way Spain Portugal was one the best games to watch, feel free to enjoy your exciting teams.

So next time think twice before saying others are moaning and stick up with your mates.
600 passes?

And what exactly did you create with those 600 passes? Morocco should have beaten you. They created more chances and bossed you that game.

You do realise the game is more than passing around the back.

Portugal are one of the worst teams to watch, so don’t tell me to think twice. One game against Spain doesn’t change that. Funny how you mention 600 passes. When against Spain you barely could keep the ball and basically looked to do what Iran and Morocco did to you which was hit you on the break. Sadly for them they don’t have Ronaldo. So stop being a hypocrite.
 

rcoobc

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Incomplete rounds are also a terrible idea, the more the draw affects the outcome of a competition, the less desirable.
It will affect it less! A Tunisia have little chance of going through after drawing Brazil and Portugal.

They have much more chance of going through in a 6 team group, playing 3 games, needing 3 points
 

Cal?

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It will affect it less! A Tunisia have little chance of going through after drawing Brazil and Portugal.

They have much more chance of going through in a 6 team group, playing 3 games, needing 3 points
Yea, but imagine one gets drawn against the top teams and the other team gets the AFC and Concacaf sides?
 

rcoobc

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Yea, but imagine one gets drawn against the top teams and the other team gets the AFC and Concacaf sides?
What's wrong with that? That happens anyway in our current group structure? Surely you can say it's equal unfair for Nigeria to be stuck in a group with Iceland, Croatia and Argentina whilst Senegal are in a group with Japan, Colombia and Poland. I know what group I'd rather be in.

Or let's say you've got a group like this:



Rank the 6 teams into 3 groups of 2 based on their FIFA rankings, and make sure everyone plays one game against one of the ranks.

Who has the easiest set of games? Presumably one of the teams that don't have to play Brazil... but it's not exactly clear. Bolivia are the unlucky lowest rank team who have drawn Brazil, but they've also got Japan and Morocco. They need only 3-4 points to get into the top 4 and into the knockout round.

And anyone who can't get 3 points from those games doesn't deserve to go through.

The most unfair thing is that you can win all three games and still come second. Ie. if Wales beat Switzerland, Japan and Morocco 1-0, whilst Brazil beat Switzerland, Japan and Bolivia 2-0, then yes, Wales have won all three games but still come second. But actually, the played two of the same teams, and Brazil beat them by more goals
 

Cal?

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What's wrong with that? That happens anyway in our current group structure? Surely you can say it's equal unfair for Nigeria to be stuck in a group with Iceland, Croatia and Argentina whilst Senegal are in a group with Japan, Colombia and Poland. I know what group I'd rather be in.

Or let's say you've got a group like this:



Rank the 6 teams into 3 groups of 2 based on their FIFA rankings, and make sure everyone plays one game against one of the ranks.

Who has the easiest set of games? Presumably one of the teams that don't have to play Brazil... but it's not exactly clear. Bolivia are the unlucky lowest rank team who have drawn Brazil, but they've also got Japan and Morocco. They need only 3-4 points to get into the top 4 and into the knockout round.

And anyone who can't get 3 points from those games doesn't deserve to go through.

The most unfair thing is that you can win all three games and still come second. Ie. if Wales beat Switzerland, Japan and Morocco 1-0, whilst Brazil beat Switzerland, Japan and Bolivia 2-0, then yes, Wales have won all three games but still come second. But actually, the played two of the same teams, and Brazil beat them by more goals
Fifa rankings are a bit of a joke. Your example looking okay, but what about this one:

Brazil (2)
Poland (9)
------
Costa Rica (23)
Senegal (27)
------
Serbia (34)
Australia (61)

One team could get Brazil, Senegal and Serbia whilst the other gets Poland, Costa Rica and Australia.
 

rcoobc

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Fifa rankings are a bit of a joke. Your example looking okay, but what about this one:

Brazil (2)
Poland (9)
------
Costa Rica (23)
Senegal (27)
------
Serbia (34)
Australia (61)

One team could get Brazil, Senegal and Serbia whilst the other gets Poland, Costa Rica and Australia.
True, but that's the joy of the FIFA ranking system.
 

Cal?

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So FIFA just released a press statement detailing how many teams per federation will qualify in 2026:

AFC: 8 teams
CAF: 9 teams
CONCACAF: 6 teams
CONMEBOL: 6 teams
OFC: 1 team
UEFA: 16 teams

2 additional teams will qualify through playoffs. These involve 1 team per federation (0 UEFA teams) plus an additional team from the host nation's federation. 2 of those 6 teams will be seeded and play the winners of the first round matchups.

I still don't get why CONMEBOL gets as many teams as CONCACAF. Are they this scared that the USA could mess up and not qualify?
Further proof this allocation is just a farce.

CAF don't have a single side in the WC knockout stage, let's give them many more spots,
AFC have ONE solitary side left in the WC knockout stage, let's give them many more spots,
Concacaf have ONE solitary side left in the WC knockout stage, let's give them many more spots.

In the mean time 10 out of 14 UEFA sides are in the knockout stage, making up 62.5%, but let's only give them 33.3% of the spots. :houllier:
 

Mrs Smoker

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I guess 120 matches for group stage might be too much, right?

12 groups then, top 2 plus 8 best third placed teams works for me.

Make it so...bald guy whose name I forgot.
 

Mrs Smoker

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8 groups of 6 is the way forward for me (with incomplete round robin's)

8 groups of 6, all playing 3 games. Top 4 go through.

Round of 32

Round of 16

Re-rank the remaining 8 teams here teams that have won 5 games have the easiest route to final

Quarter final, semi final, final
This one's interesting. Would it have some restrictions like top seeded team cannot play lowest seeded one? Or something like that.

Looking for alternatives to two matches in groups.
 

Hansa

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8 groups of 6 is the way forward for me (with incomplete round robin's)

8 groups of 6, all playing 3 games. Top 4 go through.

Round of 32

Round of 16

Re-rank the remaining 8 teams here teams that have won 5 games have the easiest route to final

Quarter final, semi final, final
This means 8 games for the top four nations, which probably won't be accepted by FIFA/big clubs.
 

TheRedDevil'sAdvocate

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Feck this shite, football in the group stages has been dire for quite a while with the "big" teams trying to secure qualification with the least possible effort while the rest of the bunch park the bus and attack with only three players in the hope that they will stay alive until the final match of their group. And now the incentive is to have more of this type of matches just to keep all the confederations happy? No, thank you. If they want 48 teams, start the tournament with a knock-out match (24 seeded/24 unseeded teams) and then proceed with a 24-team WC like it was from 1986 until 1994. Adds a bit of drama right from the start, it's only one more game than it is now and 4/6 third teams advancing to the R16 will make some teams actually try to win games and score goals.
 

Rafaeldagold

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It’s really sad this will be the last normal World Cup as it’s been fantastic, Intriguing & exciting and we’ve only had the group stages!

I hope Fifa will see how enjoyable it’s been and scrap the 3 team group idea for 2026 & penalty’s for draws- as far from making it more exciting it devalues football and turns it into a gimmick.

Also hope Quatar isn’t holding 2022 for many issues that’s been noted- not sure there’s enough time now though so will just enjoy this one!
 

Hansa

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Just one more, would it really be such a big deal?
I think so. I read somewhere a few months ago that the three-team groups from 2026 was decided with the seven-game limit in mind. There are of course variables here which could make it doable or not. Eight games in the Manchester rain might not be the most taxing. But imagine eight games in four weeks in the baking heat of Mexico/Southern US, with the potential of extra-time in five of them, and it would almost be medically irresponsible.

Edit: Obviously there will still be potentially five 120-minute games with the current suggestion. So even FIFAs solution is a bit more demanding than today's setup.
 

GiddyUp

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It's all getting too complicated and too spread out which I fear will take the luster off the compitition as a whole. If the format is more complicated then cricket to the casual spectator then it defeats the goal of FIFA to expand the game and get more involved. Canada/US/Mexico is a stupid idea as is the tournament being held in Qatar. To spread out over thousands of miles or a fecking nightmare to host which leaves exploitation ripe and ghost stadiums to follow.
The group stages are pretty fast paced as it is and if you are in a time zone that is a inconvenience to watch live then how can we expect people to start working out round robins and different permutations over breakfast before heading to work.
The tournament alongside the olympics is the pinnacle of sport but to feck around with extra teams and 3/4/5 countries hosting would turn in it to the Ryder/Davis cup or World Series. All nice compitions but the spectacle is in the eye of the follower of that sport while the rest get the result on the rolling banner of a an ESPN show. No one will give a shit except the heavy duty spectator and only one match will matter, the last one.
I have a lot of respect for countries like Panama, Ghana and Uzbekistan but for me qualification is the hard work. When you qualify for the WC you have done the hard part, you can now enjoy the experience and the making of you're countries sporting history by taking part. Example being the jubilation of Panama's goal or Egypts WC goal that wasn't a penalty. I'm Irish so 90, 94, 02 were fecking special, the last showing not so much. But just to qualify is special or if you are Dutch, not to qualify is depressing. But then you pick a country to follow and all is well unless I have to do a mathematical equation to figure out what's going on.
 

Emptihead

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There is so much wrong with the three group format. Here is what I see as issues.

1. Rest for teams not equal
  • First game AB both teams fresh.
  • Second game AC- C completely fresh A has to deal with possible injuries incurred during game 1 as well.
  • Third game BC - B will have had significantly longer to recover
Shows team A has an unfavorable rest period between matches.

2. A loss is much more detrimental enouraging defensive football
In the format now a loss you can recover from, but a loss is much more costly with this format.

Scenarios:
  • One team losses the first match AB
Now team C knows they will automatically qualify for the next round as long as they get 2 draws. Team C before they kick a ball know they don't even need to win a game.

The winner also knows a draw is good enough in their second game to automatically qualify.
  • 4 points are enough to qualify automatically.
This means teams know a win and draw is enough to advance. With the extended format there will be more weak teams. If teams AB are very confident of beating team C for them a draw in the first match would be good enough encouraging playing defensive football.

3.More tied groups. fair play (yellow card rule) deciding who advances more likely.

With the format making a loss much more detrimental as well as less matches creating less separation between teams can see the yellow card rule being more prominent. Think having 3 draws could very well happen or even each team winning 1 game. To me yellow cards are part of the game. Also certain refs give significantly more yellows then others. Think it's fair as a last tie breaker since it is very rare with current format, but not sure if it will be so rare with new format.

4. Collusion as already mentioned in detail teams B and C can collude in the last match.

All of these issues were thought of in 5 minutes of thought sure there are many more. It is crazy that FIFA either overlooked the issues of groups of 3 or simply didn't care. To be fair not sure what solutions there could be to do the group stage with 48 teams without having teams play more games.
 

rcoobc

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This means 8 games for the top four nations, which probably won't be accepted by FIFA/big clubs.
Yes this is true.

But - may be able to sell it be reducing qualifying from 18 games over two years to... 14?

But 7 matches does have a much nicer ring to it than 8
 
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FootballHQ

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7 matches means you can fit the tournament into a month.

Another game will mean 3-4 days recovery needed so you're looking at a potential 5 week world cup.

There is 27 day gap between final on July 15th to start of premier league on Sat 11th August so already limited recovery for those who play final and 3rd place play off. Can see why another week wouldn't be added.
 

rcoobc

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7 matches means you can fit the tournament into a month.

Another game will mean 3-4 days recovery needed so you're looking at a potential 5 week world cup.

There is 27 day gap between final on July 15th to start of premier league on Sat 11th August so already limited recovery for those who play final and 3rd place play off. Can see why another week wouldn't be added.
You can fit an 8 game, 48 team world cup into the same period.

Current World Cup structure is on the left

Some really stupid things about this world cup, but mostly that two of the quarter finals are on a Friday!

So you fit a 48 team, 8 game world cup into the same period.... but you probably want to stretch it by a couple days extra, just to give teams a bit of breathing room in the group stage.
 

Samid

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So many horrific teams in this Asia Cup. Can't believe there will be 8 Asian teams at the '26WC. FIFA are a total farce and this tournament will be awful viewing with so many undeserving countries featuring.
 

FootballHQ

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So many horrific teams in this Asia Cup. Can't believe there will be 8 Asian teams at the '26WC. FIFA are a total farce and this tournament will be awful viewing with so many undeserving countries featuring.
It's obviously been expanded to get China and more long term India in. I doubt likes of Turkmenistan will ever get in as obviously you have the established acts of Australia, S. Korea, Japan and Iran as good as having byes and Saudi Arabia usually in mix to qualify. Hopefully see Uzbekistan or Syria also qualify eventually.
 

kouroux

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The more, the merrier I say. It still gives small nations a chance to play at a big tournament. It's not like the small nations do anything with 32 teams anyway
 

Chief123

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It’ll be nice to see more teams but sadly it’s going to make for some really drab games.
 

Chief123

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I can't wait to watch Brazil or France put 11 past Uzbekistan and El Salvador.

FIFA going to give us all fatigue until knockouts if they go to 48.

The gap is just too big from top 20ish nations to top 50.
Even 10 to 20 is a huge gap. Iran are ranked 20th.
 

justboy68

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I didn't expect the Asian teams to be quite this bad. Saudi are probably going to get battered too. I'm suddenly not fancying Korea or Japan's chances either considering they've managed to lose to some of these sides. If we have to expand I would have much preferred the 40 team, 8 groups of 5, rather than this shitty idea of 16 groups of 3. Absolute shite.
 

sullydnl

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My barely thought-through opinion is that I'm fine with it.

Tournaments like the Champions League and the top domestic leagues are the peak in terms of actual quality of football. With international football being of a lower standard anyway, that's not what I tune in to World Cups for.

With a World Cup, I wan't quantity. An absolute glut of football over a few weeks. And shite games between teams with few if any players I know is part of that.
 

Chief123

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My barely thought-through opinion is that I'm fine with it.

Tournaments like the Champions League and the top domestic leagues are the peak in terms of actual quality of football. With international football being of a lower standard anyway, that's not what I tune in to World Cups for.

With a World Cup, I wan't quantity. An absolute glut of football over a few weeks. And shite games between teams with few if any players I know is part of that.
The idea of having more teams is fine, but the 16 groups of 3 teams is going to be rubbish. It’s just going to be sending the dross teams home and everyone else going into the round of 32. The 2 big teams in the group will most likely be playing dead rubbers as 2 out of 3 go through.
 

hp88

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They should follow a similar format to the cricket, have a preliminary knockout round for the teams who are ranked low, once they have filtered out you add in everyone else.
 

antohan

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They should follow a similar format to the cricket, have a preliminary knockout round for the teams who are ranked low, once they have filtered out you add in everyone else.
That's what World Cup qualifying does, except that it doesn't give the likes of Italy a god-given right to make it.
 
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