The World Cup is widely considered to be the pinnacle of international soccer, and is an event that draws attention from around the world. This year, however, will have changes, with certain regulations and rules set in place to protect players and fans.
Still on everyone’s retina is the Qatar 2022 soccer World Cup, although, as everything is still on course, there is already talk of the next event. It will take place in three different countries, Mexico, Canada and the United States. However, the most important news is that FIFA decided to make changes. Although, this is not new. Almost always, after the end of a World Cup, changes are announced that will be applied to the next one.
Soccer World Cup will be longer
48 teams will participate, instead of 32, as was done in Qatar. In the last World Cup won by Argentina, 32 countries participated, distributed in 8 groups of four teams each.
This system was used for the first time in the World Cup made in France in 1996 and had no variations until now. But in the next World Cup 2026, changes will be seen. The addition of 16 more teams will make them be distributed in 12 groups of 4 teams each. Of these 48 countries, 45 will have to qualify, since the remaining three places will be held by the host countries.
With more teams participating, the number of matches increases, with more schedules, more stadiums and, of course, the tournament will be longer. Until the Qatar World Cup, 64 matches were played. In 2026, the number of matches will increase to 104.
A little history of the World Cups
The 2026 World Cup will have the most participating teams in the history of World Cups. It all started in Uruguay in 1930, where the first World Cup in history was played. Thirteen teams participated, including the host country.
The initial idea was for 16 teams to participate, but due to disagreements on the development of the game, three European teams refused to travel. There were 3 groups of three teams and one group of four.
The 16-team system was maintained until Spain 1982, where the quota was expanded to 24 teams. The last modification was made in France 1998, when the quota was increased to 32 participants.
The changes were decided due to the fact that there are three host countries, since a 50% increase in participants would be a very important expense for only one country, since it requires greater infrastructures.
2026 World Cup
The 2026 World Cup will be the longest in history. It will also have the largest number of venues in three different countries. This time there will not be 8 stadiums, but 16.
The United States will have its venues in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City.
Mexico will also have three venues, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey. The Azteca stadium will host the opening match and will become the only stadium in the world to host three World Cups. Canada will have two venues, Vancouver and Toronto.