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Thread: Possible expansion to 48 teams from 2026 world Cup.

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    Possible expansion to 48 teams from 2026 world Cup.

    FIFA discussing options for future world cups, and these are some:

    There are four options for the 2026 tournament:

    Keep the existing 32-team structure;
    Expand to 40 teams (eight groups of five);
    Expand to 40 teams (10 groups of four);
    Expand to 48 teams (16 seeds joined by 32 winners of a play-off round).
    I definitely don't like the last one anyway - if you get the finals you should get into a group without needing a playoff first.

    I didn't think that the addition of extra teams in Euro 2016 really lowered the standard of football that much - if anything it was the group format which made for some poor games.

    But mostly, I'd say it's fine as it is.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I can't see how 8 groups of 5 is a runner after 1982. Didn't really work in the Europa League either.

    The last option I think should be 16 seeds joined by 16 winners of a play-off round. I don't think it's the worst idea, but I do think it's worse than the current 32-team tournament.

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    We wouldn't have qualified for the Euros without the expansion so I think I'm now in favour of anything which heavily increases our chances and to hell with quality control, which isn't really in place for the World Cup as it is with some countries almost qualifying by default. Ireland and other middle ranking European teams get a seriously raw deal as things stand I think.

    If it was increased to 40 teams I would prefer ten groups of four. Of those extra 8 teams though, how many would come from Europe? If it's only one or two then I'd nearly leave well enough alone as our chances wouldn't be increased all that significantly.

    I'd be open to the 48 team expansion but would need more information on the format for the playoffs, etc.

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    The last option I think should be 16 seeds joined by 16 winners of a play-off round. I don't think it's the worst idea, but I do think it's worse than the current 32-team tournament.
    I don't like the idea of going to the host country just to leave after 1 game (maybe 2 if it's a 2-legged playoff, which is fairly pointless in a neutral venue). That doesn't really count as 'getting to the world cup' for me.

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    Seasoned Pro Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    8 Groups of 3. First and second in each group join 16 seeded teams in the round of 32 group stage. 8 x 4 and on as before. The game played in Round 1 could also count in round 2 and while the preliminary round is ongoing the top 2 seeds in stage 2 could play each other.

    For Example

    GROUP A

    Argentina - Seed 1
    Belgium - Seed 2

    Argentina 1-2 Belgium

    Nigeria - Pool A
    Wales - Pool A
    Australia - Pool A

    Nigeria 1-0 Wales , Wales 2-0 Australia, Nigeria 1-1 Australia

    POOL A
    Nigeria 4pts
    Wales 3pts
    Australia 0pts


    Nigeria top the stage 1 pool with wales 2nd - with Nigeria's win over Wales now counting in stage 2.

    so after series 1 - Group A looks like this:

    Belgium 3pts
    Nigeria 3pts
    Argentina 0pts
    Wales 0pts

    Remaining fixtures
    Belgium v Wales , Argentina v Nigeria
    Argentina v Wales, Belgium v Nigeria ( Can be played at the same time )

    Madness I know.
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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    You can't have groups of three either - same problem with the potential for the last pairing knowing exactly what they need to progress (e.g. a 1-1 draw) before the game starts.

    I can't see FIFA going with an odd number in a group.

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    Seasoned Pro Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    You can't have groups of three either - same problem with the potential for the last pairing knowing exactly what they need to progress (e.g. a 1-1 draw) before the game starts.
    But the fact that the game could count in the next stage might eradicate the possibility of teams of playing for a draw when a win would suit them better later in the competition.
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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Maybe - but I still reckon there's scope for complaints.

    It'd also add an extra 24 games, which is a lot.

    I don't think there's any really satisfactory way to increase from 32 to be honest. Which isn't to say they won't try.

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    Seasoned Pro Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Maybe - but I still reckon there's scope for complaints.

    It'd also add an extra 24 games, which is a lot.

    I don't think there's any really satisfactory way to increase from 32 to be honest. Which isn't to say they won't try.
    I reckon they will go 4 groups of 10 and rank the top 8 into the L16 with teams ranked 9-24 playing in a playoff round. So you will have top 2 in each group plus 4 3rd placed teams.

    No good way of doing it - although an extra 24 games brings in a lot of revenue - which is what FIFA is all about.
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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Agree on the revenue - I just wonder if there's saturation point.

    The World Cup takes a month at present; adding an extra 24 games could take an extra week at least. And at a time when club teams are saying the international calendar is too busy. That's a counter-balance. (I'm sure the clubs can get bought off of course)

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    First Team backstothewall's Avatar
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    It's the greatest show on earth at 32. It's now harder to qualify for the World Cup than the Euros, which although firmly against the interests of Ireland, is probably the way it should be.

    Just leave it be.
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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Will probably end up as 48, the only way to get enough of Africa and Asia a shot at the big stage without ****ing off the traditional power centres of Europe and South America. That play-off idea is horrible though, one match and out after a qualification campaign?

    In regards the logistics of hosting, you could just play more games at the same time over 10-12 groups to stop a too great extension of the tournament. And, with UEFA moving towards a continent wide hosting process, it's not hard to imagine FIFA doing the same to accommodate the extra teams.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    This is being voted on Tomorrow.

    The 5 options are:

    • A 48-team World Cup consisting of 16 groups of three, with the top two sides qualifying for a last-32 knockout stage (80 games in total);
    • Another 48-team version consisting of a 32-team, one-game knockout round, with the winners joining 16 already-qualified teams (80 games - 16 in preliminary and 64 in main tournament);
    • Expanding it to 40 teams, with 10 groups of four and only six group runners-up advancing (76 games);
    • A 40-team tournament with eight groups of five (88 games);
    • Keeping the World Cup at its present size of 32 teams (64 games).


    BBC report here looks at who is supporting/against changes.

    UK sides in favour of expansion as long as it means more places for European teams. Germany against, from a quality perspective.

    I think it's grand as it is, and I really hope that the 2nd option of playoffs being held in the host country to go from 48 to 32 doesn't get enough votes. I think it's a terrible idea.

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Out of those I'd probably go for the first option. I don't generally like the idea of a three team group but at least it would be more of a tournament feel, compared to a one match playoff round. I found after Poland that staying for all three matches was a bit tough on the body & mind! I reduced it to the first two for France and missed our best moment. This format would be ideal from that point of view!

    It's totally open to shenanigans in the final group game but at least we would have a 2/3 chance of being involved in that fixture, if we reached that point. The excitement of the simultaneous games would be a big loss though I feel, if I wasn't selfish about our own chances I would probably think these are all rubbish ideas.

    Have we any idea what way the extra 16 places would be distributed amongst the various confederations?
    Last edited by DeLorean; 10/01/2017 at 8:11 AM.

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    International Prospect osarusan's Avatar
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    It's decided - first option above was voted for. 16 groups of 3, 32 teams advancing to knockout stage.


    The World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32, Fifa has decided.

    An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

    The sport's world governing body voted unanimously in favour of the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

    The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

    The tournament will be completed within 32 days - a measure to appease powerful European clubs, who objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule.

    The changes mark the first World Cup expansion since 1998.

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    Seasoned Pro jbyrne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osarusan View Post
    It's decided - first option above was voted for. 16 groups of 3, 32 teams advancing to knockout stage.
    how many countries will actually be able to host an 80 match tournament?

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    Seasoned Pro Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLorean View Post
    Have we any idea what way the extra 16 places would be distributed amongst the various confederations?
    If Europe get say 4 or 5 spots then you are looking at no more playoffs and top 2 qualifying in 9 groups. Makes it that bit easier.

    I like the idea of 32 games of knockout football, but the World Cup is perfect as it is.
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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Real ale Madrid View Post
    If Europe get say 4 or 5 spots then you are looking at no more playoffs and top 2 qualifying in 9 groups.
    Yeah that's what I would be hoping, otherwise it makes no real difference to us and the tournament itself probably won't be as good (or fair).

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbyrne View Post
    how many countries will actually be able to host an 80 match tournament?
    UEFA and Asia can't bid for 2026. Forget Oceania obviously. Of the other three, CONCACAF held it the longest time ago. I'd say the States would be nailed on to host, and they could do 80 games.
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