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FIFA to re-consider 2026 World Cup format after thrills of 2022 group stage

5:59 PM EST 12/14/22
FIFA World Cup
International football's governing body is considering making changes to the next tournament after witnessing a thrilling group stage in Qatar.
  • Qatar 2022 full of thrills
  • Expanded tournament for 2026
  • Format could be revised

WHAT'S HAPPENING? FIFA are re-thinking the format of World Cup 2026 after seeing a group stage packed full of shocks and excitement take place in Qatar. The tournament, which will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, has been expanded to feature 48 teams and is set to differ enormously from the current edition as things stand. A decision willl be made next year but "alternative formats" are on the table, as reported by Reuters.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The initial plan for World Cup 2026 was to have 16 groups of three teams in the first group phase with two teams progressing. However, there is a fear the format would make for too many dead rubbers which would alienate supporters. FIFA is also concerned teams may attempt to engineer results that suit both parties.

AND WHAT'S MORE: There are two possible alternative solutions currently being mooted. One would be to have 12 groups of four teams. The top two would progress along with the best third-placed teams. A second idea is to split the competition into two halves. Each half would contain six groups of four teams and the winner of each half would meet in the final.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? World Cup 2022 will reach its conclusion on Sunday when Argentina take on France in the final.