World Cup 2026: Two tournaments, 104 matches, 16 groups – FIFA’s crazy plan

World Cup 2026: Two tournaments, 104 matches, 16 groups - FIFA's crazy plan
soccer world cup 2026

2 tournaments, 104 games, 16 groups – crazy FIFA plans

“It really was everything but not a typical sporting event”

This World Cup in Qatar will not be forgotten in a hurry. Long ago the working conditions of construction workers were criticized. But how do the people of Germany see it? asked Janina Mutze, managing director of the opinion research institute Sieve.

Anyone who thinks the World Cup in Qatar is crazy should take a look at FIFA’s plans for the upcoming World Cup. Planned mode opens the floodgates for manipulation. The changes required are insane.

IIt gets even more confusing. In four years, the World Cup will be held in three countries, with a format that is difficult to understand and with a lot of teams. Across Mexico, the United States and Canada, 48 countries are fighting for the World Cup title, and soccer’s enormity is making the sport increasingly vulnerable.

The World Cup has never been held in three countries. It is primarily played in the United States, which has the largest number of venues with 11 of the 16 venues. Three stadiums have been selected in Mexico, two in Canada. Unlike the tournament in Doha, with its many subway and taxi trips, fans may have to travel long distances by plane in four years’ time, eight hours from Miami to Vancouver or more than seven hours from Philadelphia to Mexico City. . Where which games take place is open.

More sports, more income: what FIFA president Gianni Infantino (left) should be looking forward to for the 2026 World Cup

Source: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Exactly like mod. Because FIFA’s proposal for this mega-tournament opens the door to deals and conspiracy theories. As of now, the preliminary round is to be played in 16 groups of three. It will be almost irrelevant how the first two games end in the respective groups. In the final game, there will be countless opportunities for both teams to agree on a result that will advance them both to the next round, at the expense of the third team, who is merely a spectator.

Are there 104 World Cup games?

It is being said that FIFA and the organizers of the tournament are thinking of changing the format. Now the possibility of twelve groups of four can be discussed. If the top two and the eight third-placed best teams in the group progress in this mode, it would result in 104 World Cup games – 40 more than currently scheduled in Qatar.

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“It has not yet been decided whether we will play with twelve groups of four teams or 16 groups of three. We can also organize two preliminary rounds of 24 in each other. But that will not be decided by me,” said former coach Arsene Wenger, head of FIFA’s technical study group. Two preliminary rounds with 24 teams would mean: the world championships are two parallel tournaments so to speak.

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With 16 groups of three and a further four knockout rounds, a total of 80 World Cup games will be played. This mode has been criticized for the high risk of collusion, as a nation must be free to play. FIFA expects to generate significantly higher income from the increased number of games. The 16 countries that qualify will benefit in addition to the previous 32. “Sometimes less is more,” said Poland’s national coach Czeslaw Michniewicz about the spate of games. Less is more – this is certainly not a guiding principle of FIFA.

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