from Qatar to Usa-Mexico-Canada, the news

Bye bye Qatar. THE World Cup 2022“the most beautiful ever” to quote the words of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, hand over the baton to United 2026. In four years, in fact, the most important and prestigious competition that exists on the Land it will even be organized by three countries: United States, Mexico and Canada. With one immediately evident difference: from the small peninsula overlooking the Persian Gulfas big as theAbruzzo, the World will expand to the boundless territories of the North America.

World Cup 2026, from 32 to 48 teams: how to qualify

And the enlargement will not only be in the spaces of the competition, but also in the number of participants. From 32 teams, in fact, we will pass to 48: more places for everyone, with an expansion of 16 national teams compared to the Qatar and to the last seven editions of World Cup. Being able to… not qualify this time will be really difficult for l‘Italy, saw that theEurope will go from the current 13 places to 16 in 2026. The South America from four it will go to six, the Concacaf (Central and North America) three to six. L‘Africa will have four more seats, from five to nine, theAsia will go from four to eight, while theOceania will finally have a guaranteed place. In addition to the one reserved for the host country (in this case three), the last place will be awarded to the winner of a six-man playoff comprising two teams concacaf, a Conmebolan African, an Asian and a representative of theOceania.

The stadiums that will host matches of the tournament in 2026

Sixteen host cities, illustrated during a special ceremony held last June: eleven in the United Statesthree in the Mexico (which will therefore become the first country to host matches of a World for the third time in history) and two in Canada.

Cities and stadiums in the United States

  • Dallas (At&T Stadium, 92,967 expandable to 105,000)
  • New York (MetLife Stadium, 87157)
  • Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium, 76,640)
  • Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 75,000 expandable to 83,000)
  • Houston (NRG Stadium, 72,220 expandable to 80,000)
  • Seattle (Lumen Field, 72,000)
  • San Francisco (Levis’ Stadium, 70909)
  • Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium, 70,240 expandable to 100,240)
  • Boston (Gillette Stadium, 70,000)
  • Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field, 69238)
  • Miami (Hard Rock Stadium, 67,518 seats)

Cities and stadiums in Mexico

  • Mexico City (Azteca Stadium, 87523)
  • Monterrey (BBVA Stadium, 53.460)
  • Guadalajara (Estadio Akron, 48,071 seats)

Cities and stadiums in Canada

  • Vancouver (BC Place, 54,500 seats)
  • Toronto (BMO Field, 45,500)

The format of the 2026 World Cup: 16 groups of 3 or 12 of 4?

The format of the competition has yet to be determined. At stake are two hypotheses. The first, made official by Fifa at the time of the enlargement to 48 teams, it provides for the dispute of a reduced first phase, with only two matches for the national team, modulated over sixteen groups of three teams. Abolished the draws (in the event of a tie in the 90th minute, penalties would be taken) and the first two of each group went to the round of 32. Then five knockout games, until the final. Total: 80 matches, keeping a maximum of seven for teams going all the way to the semi-finals.

The second hypothesis was instead formulated during the course of the same World Cup in Qatar and includes twelve “classic” groups of four teams, with the top two of each group and the eight best third-placed teams progressing to the sixteenth. Three games “guaranteed” to each team, therefore, against the two of the other format. Just like today. Additionally, the number of games overall in the tournament would increase from 80 to 104 (in Qatar there have been 64) and the duration of the tournament should also be lengthened, given that the semi-finalists would play a total of eight matches (the maximum has been seven so far, starting from 1974). Everything suggests that in the end we will opt for this type of formula. More games, more money: simple, right?

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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