Starting with the 2026 International Football Federation (FIFA) World Cup in North and Central America, the number of participating countries will increase. From the existing 32 countries, 48 countries will compete for the championship cup.
FIFA, which hosted the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, fixed the number of participating teams to 16 from the 1954 Swiss tournament. Since then, from the 1982 Spain tournament, the round of 24 group stage method was adopted, and from the 1998 World Cup in France, it was transformed into a competition system of 32 countries. Since then, the tournament has been operated in the same way until this World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA called for change. From the next World Cup, 48 countries will stand on the ‘dream stage’. The reason is clear. As the number of games will increase from the current 64 to 80, FIFA can reap more profits. Revenue from broadcasting rights is expected to increase as much as the number of countries advancing to the finals. In addition, as it is a ‘festival of people around the world’, it can also enjoy the effect of inspiring more fans’ interest. However, it is pointed out that if a team of a lower level participates in the World Cup, it may accompany a ‘quality decline’.
As the number of participating teams increases, the distribution system for the finals will also change. Asia, which was allocated 4.5 shares, 토토사이트 will receive 8.5 shares. Depending on the playoff results, participating countries will be 8-9 teams. Europe will expand from 13 to 16, and Africa from 5 to 9.5. North and Central America and South America, which received 3.5 and 4.5 tickets respectively, will be allocated 6.5 tickets each. Oceania also increased its number from 0.5 to 1.5, and at least one team will participate in the World Cup.
The method of determining which teams advance to the tournament is bound to change. When 32 countries participated, they were divided into 8 groups of 4 teams, with the first and second place teams in each group advancing to the round of 16, after which the champion was determined by a single match.
Initially, FIFA discussed a plan to operate a group league with 16 groups of 3 teams in each group. After selecting 32 teams up to second place in each group, a tournament was considered. However, in this case, due to the increase in the ‘group of death’, countries with upper and middle rankings are eliminated one after another, and there is a disadvantage that the final match of the group league cannot be held at the same time. As the tension goes down, the interest can also be halved. Initially, it was likely to adopt this method, but FIFA’s plan changed as dramatic situations repeatedly occurred in the round of 16 in Qatar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino hinted, “We need to review the group stage format for the next World Cup or discuss it from scratch.”
Two more methods are being discussed. 4 countries are divided into 12 groups, and 8 teams with good grades along with 1st and 2nd place in each group advance to the round of 32, and 4 countries are divided into 6 groups to form two groups, and the winners of each group will face each other in the final. one of these candidates.
The 2026 North and Central America Games, where the new system will make its debut, is more of a distributed event rather than a co-hosted event. Of the 80 matches, 60 will be held in the United States, with the rest in Mexico and Canada. The 16 cities where the festival will be held have already been decided, including 11 in the United States, two in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver), and three in Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey).