World Cup 2026 - 48 teams

That_Bloke

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32 teams was the absolute limit. The WC will be unwatchable.
 

SportingCP96

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It takes away the lore of the WC. Everyone and their mother will be able to qualify, A lot more shit teams will get in.

This is a money move that’s it.
 

crappycraperson

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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.
Exactly what I was thinking. I understand the multi year long qualification process already accomplishes that but let that be used to decide top 24 teams and then another 24 teams after that. Make 8 groups of 3 and have the group winner advance to main draw of the WC to make it 32 team WC again. This way the additional teams also get to experience the overall WC event as part of a hose country.
 

FootballHQ

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8 Asian teams in 2026 :lol:
Japan and South Korea usually do o.k and either in the last 16 isn't a massive shock. Australia would have same potential if it wasn't such a dismal generation of players (compared to their excellent teams that kept falling in play offs in late 90s/2001).

Iran were pretty competitive in 2014 and 2018, today a very bad day at the office to cap off all the turmoil in their country.

Saudi haven't been a factor since 1994 really.

Will just mean likes of China and Uzbekistan have better chances. One of Jordan/Bahrain will also be in contention and would be a real feel good story to see Syria make it, they were very close in 2018 qualifying.

How many entrants from Concacaf in 2026 given their main three are qualifying automatically? They'll be the big beneficiaries of the inflated team allocations.
 

Samid

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How many entrants from Concacaf in 2026 given their main three are qualifying automatically? They'll be the big beneficiaries of the inflated team allocations.
4 year old post so not sure if they've made any amendments since then.

FIFA ranking top 48 countries representation:
Europe 28
Africa 7
CONMEBOL 8
CONCACAF 3
Asia 2
Oceania 0

2026 World Cup representation:
Europe 16
Africa 9
Asia 8
CONCACAF 6
CONMEBOL 6
Oceania 1
Playoff 2 (featuring teams from all continents except Europe)

16th European team is ranked 26th. Currently six European that are ranked better than the best Asian team will be missing out. Yet they somehow proceed to give Asia 8 spots. 8th Asian team is ranked 77th. 6th CONCACAF team is ranked 62nd. Farcical.

If you thought it was bad enough with Panama, Saudi Arabia etc. at this year's tournament then just wait until 2026. FIFA is a fecking joke and the 2026 World Cup will be beyond a parody.
 

Sandikan

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Another 16 teams! Will they be cramming 5 games a day in, or just extending for a week?!

The "Positive" is that you have less chance of giants like Italy missing out and you have greater opportunity to play in what is the peak tournament of football.

But the obvious downside is you'll have loads of really weak teams getting in there, and the qualifying will be even more of a tedious procession for a lot of teams.
 

FootballHQ

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Europe's only getting another 3-4 places, certainly won't be anywhere near 28 as then qualification is a total waste of time given there's a good ten teams who have no chance like San Marino, Moldova etc.

Think South America is going to six direct entrants with seventh in the play off so will just become a procession for Brazil and Argentina rather than it going down to final matchday as did for Argentina in 2017.

Surely Fifa has to re-jig some of the qualification processes as you're going to be getting teams playing nearly 20 games and being qualified after 10 games but won't be holding my breath on that.
 

Pronewbie

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FIFA really shouldn’t. They are better off creating a better confederation cup based on the Nations League format.
 

BorisManUtd

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It sounds like such a bad idea, 48 teams is too much. 32 is about right, like in Champions League, anything more than that is too much.
 

Mb194dc

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Yup will be some massive scores in the groups. It'll be largely dull until the knockouts. Similar to the CL now.
 

bosnian_red

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Will be a horrible group stage. Though if Bosnia makes it, feck it, would be a dream being able to watch them live in a world cup. But still. Horrible idea.
 

P-Ro

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People haven't read the details of the plan clearly. Having a 2 game group stage and a last 32 round means that every game has more significance. Less of the shitty 3rd match group stage games where both teams have already qualified/been knocked out. If you want to win the tournament you'll still only need to play 7 games, just like the current format.

Yes, it's obviously a money grab on FIFAs part but I genuinely think it will make the tournament more exciting. The main downside I can see is that it would essentially guarantee that most world cups from now will be won by joint bids because most nations can't accommodate a tournament of that scale.
 

Stack

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4 year old post so not sure if they've made any amendments since then.
The whole ranking thing misses the point of the world cup and how it evolved. people think its the best teams in the world when its actually the best teams from AROUND the world which is why you have teams who didnt make it ranked much higher than some qualifiers who did.
How the world cup evolved and why is important.
 

Stack

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People haven't read the details of the plan clearly. Having a 2 game group stage and a last 32 round means that every game has more significance. Less of the shitty 3rd match group stage games where both teams have already qualified/been knocked out. If you want to win the tournament you'll still only need to play 7 games, just like the current format.

Yes, it's obviously a money grab on FIFAs part but I genuinely think it will make the tournament more exciting. The main downside I can see is that it would essentially guarantee that most world cups from now will be won by joint bids because most nations can't accommodate a tournament of that scale.
Having a two game group stage is fecking awful.
 

Bondi77

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To think we have teams like Iran and Australia competing while Italy miss out is a joke.
I know it is great to spread the word when it comes to football but for me if it is 32 teams then it should be the best 32 teams.
 

Stack

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To think we have teams like Iran and Australia competing while Italy miss out is a joke.
I know it is great to spread the word when it comes to football but for me if it is 32 teams then it should be the best 32 teams.
Yeah thats a shitty take on it.
An absolute bullshit take on it.
I hate that italy isnt there but its not the best 32 teams or we would just use the ranking system to choose the sides. Its the best 32 from around the world.
 

Bondi77

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Yeah thats a shitty take on it.
An absolute bullshit take on it.
I hate that italy isnt there but its not the best 32 teams or we would just use the ranking system to choose the sides. Its the best 32 from around the world.
I don't see much benefit for some of these teams that are so out of their depth and just fodder for the good teams.
I probably could have worded my original post a bit better in that I like to see the best teams through genuine qualifying as is seen in Europe.
 

Stack

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I don't see much benefit for some of these teams that are so out of their depth and just fodder for the good teams.
I probably could have worded my original post a bit better in that I like to see the best teams through genuine qualifying as is seen in Europe.
The benefit is not for you but for those teams. Tahiti a few years back got absolutely hammered by Spain at the Confeds cup. Ask any of that Tahitian team what they thought or what any of their fans thought and the answer is they were thrilled to have had a chance to play a team as good as Spain.
The benefit in Tahiti was immediate, an big increase in kids starting to play the game even though they got massively thumped at the confeds cup.

I ahte the WC going to 48 teams, that is a joke. It means the qualifying rounds lose some of their mystique which is part of the beauty of the world cup. Where I am in NZ for example will essentially get a free ride to the WC. Thats just wrong
 

Bondi77

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The benefit is not for you but for those teams. Tahiti a few years back got absolutely hammered by Spain at the Confeds cup. Ask any of that Tahitian team what they thought or what any of their fans thought and the answer is they were thrilled to have had a chance to play a team as good as Spain.
The benefit in Tahiti was immediate, an big increase in kids starting to play the game even though they got massively thumped at the confeds cup.

I ahte the WC going to 48 teams, that is a joke. It means the qualifying rounds lose some of their mystique which is part of the beauty of the world cup. Where I am in NZ for example will essentially get a free ride to the WC. Thats just wrong
You have a fair point.
I suppose the Olympics is similar in that a country has only a certain amount of entrants in individual sports when they may have more that are better than the others competing from other countries.
If it goes to 48 teams then the top teams will take bigger squads as there will be more games and will play their reserve reserve side against the minnows anyway so while it is a celebration for the minnow nations it is a boreathon for established soccer fan.
 

AbusementPark

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You have a fair point.
I suppose the Olympics is similar in that a country has only a certain amount of entrants in individual sports when they may have more that are better than the others competing from other countries.
If it goes to 48 teams then the top teams will take bigger squads as there will be more games and will play their reserve reserve side against the minnows anyway so while it is a celebration for the minnow nations it is a boreathon for established soccer fan.
Games remain the same for it and its the same duration, theyve dropped the 4 teams groups and opted for 3 teams, one less game and then started knockout phase from after that.
Another idea being floated is that no draws allowed in groups, penalty shoot out so that in the second game both teams dont play for a draw just to make sure they go through and the last team in the group is eliminated.
I do like the idea as upsets can happen and big teams go out in the group stage. It makes the qualifiers pointless in a way as there wont be many shock omissions, ala Italy this year.
 

Bondi77

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Games remain the same for it and its the same duration, theyve dropped the 4 teams groups and opted for 3 teams, one less game and then started knockout phase from after that.
Another idea being floated is that no draws allowed in groups, penalty shoot out so that in the second game both teams dont play for a draw just to make sure they go through and the last team in the group is eliminated.
I do like the idea as upsets can happen and big teams go out in the group stage. It makes the qualifiers pointless in a way as there wont be many shock omissions, ala Italy this year.
Okay.....I didn't know that
Makes it a bit cut-throat I suppose and more of a true Cup competition.
I suppose it comes down to do we want to see a spectacular competition or do we want to see the better teams in the latter stages fighting it out.
We could probably change tennis to one set matches and that would change the landscape completely.
 

RedTiger

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Europe's only getting another 3-4 places, certainly won't be anywhere near 28 as then qualification is a total waste of time given there's a good ten teams who have no chance like San Marino, Moldova etc.

Think South America is going to six direct entrants with seventh in the play off so will just become a procession for Brazil and Argentina rather than it going down to final matchday as did for Argentina in 2017.

Surely Fifa has to re-jig some of the qualification processes as you're going to be getting teams playing nearly 20 games and being qualified after 10 games but won't be holding my breath on that.
The obvious thing to do would be to combine both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL into one qualification for the combined 12 spots (plus two play-off places). Unfortunately I don't see CONMEBOL throwing their sacred 10 team qualification tournament away.
 

Lay

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People haven't read the details of the plan clearly. Having a 2 game group stage and a last 32 round means that every game has more significance. Less of the shitty 3rd match group stage games where both teams have already qualified/been knocked out. If you want to win the tournament you'll still only need to play 7 games, just like the current format.

Yes, it's obviously a money grab on FIFAs part but I genuinely think it will make the tournament more exciting. The main downside I can see is that it would essentially guarantee that most world cups from now will be won by joint bids because most nations can't accommodate a tournament of that scale.
Getting out the groups could become too easy though. A loss and a draw would be enough to go through.
 

NoPace

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4 year old post so not sure if they've made any amendments since then.
Damn. The Concacaf and Asian teams will get embarassed. Africa and South America have enough depth for their bottom teams to be competent, but those first 2 conferences definitely do not.
 

NoPace

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Okay.....I didn't know that
Makes it a bit cut-throat I suppose and more of a true Cup competition.
I suppose it comes down to do we want to see a spectacular competition or do we want to see the better teams in the latter stages fighting it out.
We could probably change tennis to one set matches and that would change the landscape completely.
It would make tennis worse. The "servebots" who are horrible to watch could hold serve 6 times in a row often enough would rise in the rankings and the game would come down to a couple points in the tiebreak too often.

As for the 48 team world cup, it sounds kind of horrible for a fan. I hate missing games and you'd just have to. Would make it more like club football where you just watch the big games rather than being genuinely intrigued by like Mexico-Poland or Wales-USA today.
 

Stack

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You have a fair point.
I suppose the Olympics is similar in that a country has only a certain amount of entrants in individual sports when they may have more that are better than the others competing from other countries.
If it goes to 48 teams then the top teams will take bigger squads as there will be more games and will play their reserve reserve side against the minnows anyway so while it is a celebration for the minnow nations it is a boreathon for established soccer fan.
Sorry my replies were pretty shitty, you didnt deserve that.
 

Stack

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You have a fair point.
I suppose the Olympics is similar in that a country has only a certain amount of entrants in individual sports when they may have more that are better than the others competing from other countries.
If it goes to 48 teams then the top teams will take bigger squads as there will be more games and will play their reserve reserve side against the minnows anyway so while it is a celebration for the minnow nations it is a boreathon for established soccer fan.
I really hate the 48 teams. As people have mentioned it becomes too big for one country to host and I think you are right, it will be a boreathon for some fans. Im mostly bummed about the fact its going to mean less. Down here in NZ we arent a very good footballing nation so qualifying for us meant we had achieved something, now we basically have an easy run at it. Its just not the same thing when you havent truely earned your place, that would mean you are right about it being so wrong if Italy didnt qualify.
 

edcunited1878

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The more teams means the more resources and ready-to-go infrastructure to support just the logistics of each team and on-site broadcaster and group of fans. Realistically, only a few certain countries and regions are capable of supporting such a tournament.
 

Dansk

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Even now, the games are mostly shit until the knockout stages. I looked at the group stage schedule and there are almost no exciting games. The only ones that are genuinely interesting are when the two group favorites meet. There are so many teams in this year's WC who are likely to finish with 0 or 1 points, and there's not even one decent game every day. Today, the only one of the four matches where both teams have a realistic chance to win is Mexico - Poland, and since it's almost completely impossible for either of them to make it much further than the group stage, it's not exactly something I'll delay supper for.

With 48 teams in the WC, we'll see the likes of Burkina Faso and Finland going, and the only ones who will give the remotest of shits about their games are their own citizens. For literally everyone else in the world, it'll be a bunch of nothing games that aren't worth the time it takes to watch. If they weren't able to qualify this time when the likes of Iran and Tunisia did, they don't belong at the WC.
 
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rpitroda

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Yeah thats a shitty take on it.
An absolute bullshit take on it.
I hate that italy isnt there but its not the best 32 teams or we would just use the ranking system to choose the sides. Its the best 32 from around the world.
Whilst I agree principally, there has to be a reasonable allocation, surely, of places by area, which correlates to some degree to the overall quality of the teams in those areas. So not a WC based on rankings but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t debate the appropriateness of allocations by area.
 

Stack

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Whilst I agree principally, there has to be a reasonable allocation, surely, of places by area, which correlates to some degree to the overall quality of the teams in those areas. So not a WC based on rankings but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t debate the appropriateness of allocations by area.
Absolutely appropriate allocations by area is important. For example where I am Oceania doesnt have its own spot by right and has to go to play offs which makes sense given how weak the teams here are. Sadly that changes when we go to 48 teams
 

RedDevilMachine

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People haven't read the details of the plan clearly. Having a 2 game group stage and a last 32 round means that every game has more significance. Less of the shitty 3rd match group stage games where both teams have already qualified/been knocked out. If you want to win the tournament you'll still only need to play 7 games, just like the current format.

Yes, it's obviously a money grab on FIFAs part but I genuinely think it will make the tournament more exciting. The main downside I can see is that it would essentially guarantee that most world cups from now will be won by joint bids because most nations can't accommodate a tournament of that scale.
USA is big enough to host that many nations so I am more bothered why they want to co-host with Mexico and Canada as hosting in multiple countries will be a nightmare logistic issue for travelling fans as we've seen in Euro 2020.

Obviously the expansion of 32 to 48 games in the next World Cup is a ploy to get China involved which means more money for FIFA, it would be hilarious if the most populated country in the world fail to make it even with this expansion.
 

RedDevilMachine

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Even now, the games are mostly shit until the knockout stages. I looked at the group stage schedule and there are almost no exciting games. The only ones that are genuinely interesting are when the two group favorites meet. There are so many teams in this year's WC who are likely to finish with 0 or 1 points, and there's not even one decent game every day. Today, the only one of the four matches where both teams have a realistic chance to win is Mexico - Poland, and since it's almost completely impossible for either of them to make it much further than the group stage, it's not exactly something I'll delay supper for.

With 48 teams in the WC, we'll see the likes of Burkina Faso and Finland going, and the only ones who will give the remotest of shits about their games are their own citizens. For literally everyone else in the world, it'll be a bunch of nothing games that aren't worth the time it takes to watch. If they weren't able to qualify this time when the likes of Iran and Tunisia did, they don't belong at the WC.
Easy to say in hindsight but yes I don't see any upsets this time around, but the last World Cup had so many upsets and remember the 2014 World Cup where Costa Rica topped the group ahead of Uruguay, Italy, England. Smaller teams study the big teams in advance and normally, they have a month to prepare but not the case this time. I think all the big nations will make it to the next round this time, these professional footballers are playing in the top leagues at peak fitness and they won't get burnt out after a long season like they normally do.
 

Slysi17

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I really hate the 48 teams. As people have mentioned it becomes too big for one country to host and I think you are right, it will be a boreathon for some fans. Im mostly bummed about the fact its going to mean less. Down here in NZ we arent a very good footballing nation so qualifying for us meant we had achieved something, now we basically have an easy run at it. Its just not the same thing when you havent truely earned your place, that would mean you are right about it being so wrong if Italy didnt qualify.
 

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To think we have teams like Iran and Australia competing while Italy miss out is a joke.
I know it is great to spread the word when it comes to football but for me if it is 32 teams then it should be the best 32 teams.
Since winning the 2006 World Cup, Italy have failed to make it beyond the group stage in 2010 and 2014 while failing to qualify for the last two World Cups. That's their World Cup heritage post 2006. They weren't good enough to qualify for the last two World Cups and have stunk since winning in 2006 so I have no tears to shed over their absence. This tournament, just like the last one will be just fine without them.
 

Abizzz

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We should have a participation world cup. Can give everyone a medal too. And a second proper one to find out who's the best at football.
 

massi83

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The whole ranking thing misses the point of the world cup and how it evolved. people think its the best teams in the world when its actually the best teams from AROUND the world which is why you have teams who didnt make it ranked much higher than some qualifiers who did.
How the world cup evolved and why is important.
Person from NZ liking a system that gives better chance of qualifying for NZ shocker
 
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