World Cup 2026 of 48 countries in 16 groups and 80 matches
No less than 48 countries will participate in the 2026 World Cup instead of the current 32 countries. As a result, the number of matches at the Football World Cup will increase from 64 to 80. FIFA decided this on Tuesday in a meeting in Zurich.
Due to the increase in the number of participating countries, the group round will also change. From the 2026 World Cup there will be 16 groups of 3 countries each. The numbers 1 and 2 of each group move on to the knockout rounds. Because more participants are admitted to the main tournament, each continent can also send more countries. This new set-up can also provide more exciting matches.
FIFA hopes that the decision will improve the level of football worldwide. By admitting more participants to a World Cup football, more countries get the chance to prove themselves. Support for the global football tournament is therefore increasing and supporters from smaller football countries feel more involved in the World Cup.
Another advantage for FIFA is the higher income. More matches are being played by 48 countries, with which the world football association expects to receive a billion euros in extra income. The total expected revenue for the 2026 World Cup is $6.5 billion (€6.2 billion).
The increased number of participants in the 2026 World Cup is an idea of FIFA president Infantino. Earlier, Infantino indicated that it would investigate whether the number of participants in the World Football Championship could be expanded.
It is not yet known who will be allowed to organize the 2026 World Championship.Read all news »
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No less than 48 countries will participate in the 2026 World Cup, increasing the number of matches from 64 to 80. There are 16 groups of 3 countries each.
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