FIFA World Cup 2026: Tournament Increased To 48 Teams After Meeting

FIFA World Cup 2026
FIFA World Cup 2026

FIFA World Cup 2026 will witness a total of 48 teams participating for the title. As of now, only 32 teams around the globe compete for the world title. Under the new system, a total of 16 groups with three teams in each. Then, a knockout stage of 32 teams will follow in the 2026 WC tournament as stated by the FIFA.

The highest governing body of the sport voted unanimously and accepted the change at a meeting in Zurich today, Tuesday. It will result in the increase of a total number of matches from 64 to 80. However, the winner will play only seven games throughout the tournament.

FIFA World Cup 2026

The entire tournament will take place within 32 days. It is done to please the powerful European clubs who had the objection in reforming the crowded international schedule. It is the first ever WorldCup expansion since 1998.

The new campaign group named Fifa Now has recommended the reform of the governing body. It has termed this development as a money grab and power grab. It, further, said that it would result in the dilution of the competitiveness of the competition and the enjoyment of fans.

It is neither going to help in the development of the sport nor the increase in the opportunities for the lower-ranked nations. It is just going to make fun of the qualification process for the most confederations.

FIFA World Cup 2026
FIFA World Cup 2026

Why expand for FIFA World Cup 2026?

Gianni Infantino is said to be behind this step as he wants to include more nations into the cup. In a sports press conference which took place in Dubai in December 2016, he said that it would benefit the development of football across the globe.


He believes that there is nothing bigger than participating in a world cup to boost football in a nation. He said that the competition should not be affected by financial terms. However, he did highlight the very much possible financial expense.

FIFA has done a research of its own and calculated a potential profit rise of £521m from the increased revenue of £5.29bn for a 48-team tournament.

History of World Cup overhauls

WC Teams Format
1930 Uruguay 13 1 group of 4 and 3 groups of 3, with only top team progressing to semi-finals
1934 Italy 16 Straight knockout tournament
1950 Brazil 15 (although only 13 took part) 3 groups of 4 and 1 group of 3, with top side progressing to final group of four
1954 Switzerland 16 4 groups of 4, but only 2 games in each group, with top 2 sides through to quarter-finals
1958 Sweden 16 4 groups of 4, this time with 3 games. Top 2 teams through to quarter-finals
1974 West Germany 16 4 groups of 4 but now followed with 2 groups of 4, the 2 top sides competing for the final
1982 Spain 24 6 groups of 4 followed by 4 groups of 3, the winner of each qualifying for the semi-finals
1986 Mexico 24 6 groups of 4, top 2 sides and 4 best 3rd-placed teams qualifying for round of 16
1998 France 32 8 groups of 4, top 2 sides progressing to knockout rounds

Now, 48 teams will participate in the FIFA World Cup 2026. Are you in favor of this decision?

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