To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK

FIFA considering changing from three team groups for 2026 World Cup

Ryan Sidle

Published 
| Last updated 

FIFA considering changing from three team groups for 2026 World Cup

The success of the current World Cup has FIFA considering their options for 2026, with the tournament in USA, Canada and Mexico set to increase to 48 teams.

One thing that has been missing from the last 16 in Qatar so far has been an upset, with Netherlands, Argentina, France and England all making it into the quarter finals on Saturday and Sunday.

Don't get me wrong, I was very much glad about that fact whilst watching Gareth Southgate's side on Sunday evening, less so when Kylian Mbappe was slicing through Poland like a hot knife through butter earlier in the day.

But this has been a tournament of excellent upsets, with Saudi Arabia's win over Argentina causing shockwaves and Japan's wins over Germany and Spain knocking the 2014 champions out of the tournament.

Loading…

Of course with the World Cup being just so entertaining on the pitch, and proving how exciting the format can be, FIFA are changing it up for the next one.

In three and a half years time it will be a 48 team tournament, leaving behind the 32 team version that's been in play since 1994.

Before the previous time it was held in North America, the World Cup went through many different formats over the years but it's been consistent for the past 24 years.

With 48 teams in, FIFA have been talking about the group stages being 16 of three teams, with the top two from each going through.

However, the success of the current tournament has left them reconsidering that plan, with two four team group formats now on the table.

FIFA's Director of Global Football, Arsene Wenger, has revealed that it could be 12 groups of four or even a 'Wimbledon' style system of two concurrent tournaments of six groups of four, where teams would know who they will avoid until the final.

"This is not decided, but it will be 16 groups of three, 12 groups of four, or two sides of six groups of four, like you organise two 24-team [tournaments]," the former Arsenal manager said.

"I will not be able to decide that, it will be decided by the FIFA Council, and I think it will be done in the next year."

Wenger, like FIFA, would be questioning all their life choices if they had an ounce of humility between them. Image: Alamy
Wenger, like FIFA, would be questioning all their life choices if they had an ounce of humility between them. Image: Alamy

The 16 group format would take away the incredible drama that we saw in Group E last week, with all four sides still able to go through or out heading into the final round of games.

At one point Japan and Costa Rica, who lost their first game 7-0 to Spain, were both heading through and sending Spain and Germany home.

In the end it was just Hansi Flick's side that went out, with Costa Rica ending up losing to them, but the drama went all the way to the end.

The 48 team format has been questioned previously and seems like a rubbish idea, but at least FIFA are looking at ways at making it slightly better.

Wenger was also in the news on Sunday, as he joined in criticism of teams who weren't 'concentrating on football,' blaming protests for why Germany were knocked out.

The German side held their hands over their mouths ahead of the game with Japan, after being told they weren't allowed to wear the 'One Love' captain's armband.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Football World Cup, FIFA, Arsene Wenger

Ryan Sidle
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Football

#EduOut trends on Twitter as Arsenal close in on signing of Jorginho

13 minutes ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Man City 'really like' Bukayo Saka and have 'monitored' Arsenal star

3 hours ago