FIFA 2026 World Cup the first to expand to 48 teams
There are changes coming to the FIFA World Cup after an unanimous voting decision was passed to step up the number of participants in a final to 48. This will first come into play at the 2026 World Cup and that is when the world will get its first look at how all of this will play out. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has long been an advocator of expanding the tournament and now that will be happening.
It is not just the expansion to 48 teams from the 32 that enter now, there are other factors that go along with things of course, such as the increased number of matches and fitting those matches into a time period. One of the biggest opposing factors to increasing the number of teams at the tournament was because of it potentially expanding the summer’s international schedule.
But the plans for the 2026 World Cup are to keep the event to just 32 days of action so that it doesn’t drag on. There will be 80 matches now up from the 64 that currently get played at a World Cup in the 32-team format, but allaying more fears about extra load, it was announced that the winner of the tournament will still only have to play seven matches to win the World Cup.
That is because of the new format which will see 16 groups of 3 teams as the first stage. The top two teams from each of the groups will then go through to straight knockout stage of 32, adding some extra pressure by cutting one group stage game from what is played now before getting to the stage of no second chances. This is the first time since the 1998 World Cup when the format switched to the current eight groups of four, that chances will be made to the tournament.
While supporters of the changes cite that it is a good thing for the smaller nations to get involved, opposers of the plans cite that it will be diluting the natural competitiveness of the tournament even further.
2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds
Germany 9/2, Brazil 8/1, Argentina 8/1, France 8/1, Spain 9/1, Belgium 14/1, Italy 16/1, England 16/1, Portugal 28/1, 33/1 bar
Online betting site Coral offer a Bet & Get Club for their customers. Each week from Monday through Thursday, if you make the qualifying stake amount of £25 across any sport in their sportsbook, then on the Friday you will claim a free £5 bet back to use that weekend! You can opt into this great promotion each and every week and start amassing those free bets just from your regular betting! The offer is open to new and existing customers. Register an account with online betting site Coral and also enjoy £20 worth of free bets as well from them!