After this year’s surprise and entertaining group stage in Qatar, FIFA is evaluating whether or not to change the format of the 2026 World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup group stage has too many surprises
The format will be very different from the 2022 World Cup because the tournament to be held in Canada, Mexico and the US 4 years later will be expanded to 48 participating teams. Therefore, the way to divide the table and branch will be very different. FIFA initially divided into 2 stages of the group stage, including phase 1 with 16 groups, each group 3 teams.
All will compete in a circle to choose the top 32 names of 16 groups. These 32 teams will be divided into 8 groups and will compete according to the format of the 2022 World Cup.
But after witnessing a fierce and surprising group stage journey in Qatar, which President Infantino described as “the best in history”, the world’s top football planners will recalculate.
They worry that if they divide the teams into 16 groups of three with one name dropped from each group, the level of competitiveness would suffer. Also of concern to FIFA is the possibility of collusion between teams in an effort to “produce results that reflect the wishes of both parties.” To be sure, the public’s reaction in that case would be terrifying.
Possible division options for the 2026 World Cup
Because of this, FIFA has proposed a choice between two options. Each participant joins one of twelve groups, each with four other players. Two teams from the standings will advance, along with the best third-placed team. Then, in the round of 16, the teams will face each other in a knockout format.
The second option is to split the game into two halves, each with six boards. The top two teams from each organization will participate in a championship match to compete for the Gold Cup.
The changes made by FIFA will be made with the aim of creating a visually appealing tournament like the 2022 World Cup.