FIFA confirms the 2026 World Cup continues with four-team group format
With increasing the number of competing teams to 48, it was rumored FIFA intends to hold the competition with 16 groups of three teams. However, the organization rules out the rumors confirming the upcoming World Cup will maintain the four-team group stage format.
The 2026 World Cup which will be held in the United States, Mexico, and Canada sees the number of competing teams increase from 32 to 48. With the success of the Qatar 2022, FIFA confirms the four-team groups will continue. In addition to each group’s top two teams, the eight best third-place teams go through to the knockout stage.
FIFA said in a statement on its website:
"Based on a thorough review that considered sporting integrity, player welfare, team travel, commercial and sporting attractiveness, as well as team and fan experience, the FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment to the FIFA World Cup 2026 competition format from 16 groups of three to 12 groups of four with the top two and eight best third-placed teams progressing to a round of 32.
The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams."
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