It’s official – FIFA have agreed to expand the World Cup to feature more teams; from 2026, the competition is set to include 48 international sides. Details have yet to be finalised, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s plan has been unanimously approved by the organisation’s council.
It seems likely that the first new iteration of the tournament will feature 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams in each group then going on to a 32 team knockout. So what’s the reasoning behind FIFA’s decision to tinker with the format?
5: More games mean more action! Who could forget Iran 0 – 0 Nigeria from Brazil 2014? Or how about Japan 0 – 0 Greece at Brazil 2014? And we’d be remiss if we didn’t include that classic encounter at Brazil 2014 that we all instantly remember, Ecuador 0 – 0 France. Call us Oliver Twist, because we want some more!
4: One happy coincidence of this expansion is that FIFA will now receive more money from the additional games, even though that’s clearly not why they came up with the idea in the first place. But anyway, because FIFA is a non-profit making organisation, now they’ll be able to plough that extra cash back into the game! Pretty awesome…
3: The changes to the format can be used as a gateway to further improvements that FIFA are looking to make to the game, including splitting matches into easily consumable five minute chunks that can be punctuated by, say, a selection of entertaining television commercials. It’ll be like the Super Bowl!
2: Teams that have perhaps not been quite good enough to qualify for major competitions will now be given a fairer crack of the whip. Good news for the likes of plucky little underdogs like Gibraltar, San Marino and, uh, the Dutch. Don’t stop believing, guys.
1: Ongoing debate about the competition’s new format will draw attention away from the announcement that the 2026 tournament is set to be hosted by North Korea.
To bet on any football action, visit 32Red Sport – you’ll find a comprehensive range of markets, covering all the action. And if you prefer a casino-based flutter, be sure to check out 32Red casino – there’s hundreds of slots and loads of great table games to investigate, including roulette and blackjack.