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FIFA has new format for 2026 World Cup and it is pretty different from 2022 edition

As the 2022 edition of World Cup comes to close, here is looking at the new format of the World Cup that will be played in 2026 and will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Written By: Jishu Bhattacharya @bh0592 New Delhi Updated on: December 21, 2022 16:18 IST
Lionel Messi, Argentina, FIFA World Cup 2022
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES Lionel Messi's fan poses with the World Cup trophy

The Qatar edition of FIFA World Cup 2022, amidst all the fan frenzy and controversies, has finally come to a close now. Argentina lifted the World Cup after 36 years and it certainly will be one memory that Leo Messi will remember for the rest of his life. Qatar had built seven gigantic stadiums for 64 games that were played in the recently concluded World Cup. The World Cup of upsets created and broke many records, but now all the eyeballs are set on the 2026 edition of the World Cup.

The hosts

The 2026 World Cup, which will be the 23rd edition of the soccer fest will be jointly hosted by three North American countries that include Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It will be the first time that a group of three countries will be hosting the FIFA World Cup. It was certainly not an easy decision to make for FIFA as they were hell-bent on not allowing confederation countries to host the tournament. On March 2017, FIFA confirmed that Europe and Asia were excluded from hosting the tournament, therefore the 2026 World Cup could only be hosted by one of the remaining four confederations. FIFA had selected Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 editions and hence FIFA was left with no other choice.

The format

Contrary to what was done in the 2022 edition, FIFA has now decided to expand the tournament to 48 contesting teams. On January 10, 2017, the FIFA council unanimously voted for the expansion. The 2026 World Cup will have 12 groups of 4 teams. The World Cup will be played across 16 host cities. 2 teams from all the 12 groups and 8 best third-placed teams will proceed to the next round. The knockouts will start as soon as the final 32 are confirmed. A total of 104 games will be played. 

ALSO READ | Lionel Messi becomes 'FIRST SOCCER PLAYER' in history to achieve this feat 

This will be the first time that Canada will host a World Cup contest. The United States of America will host 60 matches including every match from the quarterfinals onward. Canada and Mexico will host matches 10 matches each. 

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