After WM is before the World Cup…
The next final round will take place in Mexico, Canada and the USA in 2026. And it’s not just because of the three countries that it’s going to be soooo different!
► PARTICIPANTS: For the first time in history, 48 teams including the three hosts are taking part. 16 from Europe, nine from Africa, eight from Asia, six from South America, six from North and Central America and the Caribbean, one from Oceania and two play-off winners.
A Bloat World Cup.
► MODUS: In January 2017, Fifa decided that the World Cup would be played in 16 groups of three teams each. The top two of each group would qualify for the sixteenth finals. So there would be 80 instead of 64 games.
But this mode is on the brink!
Reason: the experiences at the finals in Qatar!
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (52): “After this World Cup and the success of the groups of four, we have to take it up again or at least discuss it again, whether we make 16 groups of three or twelve groups of four. This is certainly something that will be on the agenda at the next meetings.”
And further: “You didn’t know until the last minute of the game who would advance. That was incredible!”
In the mode with groups of four, the first two and the eight best third parties would advance. Games leading up to the finals would increase from seven to eight.
Would also mean that there would be 104 games (40 more than at this World Cup)!
► VENUES: The decision for the 16 stadiums for the 2026 World Cup was made in June. Canada is represented with two (Vancouver, Toronto) and Mexico with three venues (Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City). In the three-group variant, ten games would take place in both countries.
Eleven locations will be played in the USA: New Jersey, Dallas, Kansas City, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles.
Where the final will be played is still open. Favorite: SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, home of the Super Bowl this year.
One thing is certain: From the quarter-finals onwards, only games will be played in the USA.
And: It will be the World Cup of long distances!
In Qatar all stadiums were within 80 kilometers, in 2026 Vancouver and Mexico City are almost 4000 kilometers apart. That’s almost as far as from Berlin to Qatar…
In addition to higher revenues (of 50 percent, Fifa is hoping for a boom in North America).
Infantino: “We are optimistic that football can also become No. 1 in North America.”