The long wait and countdown to the 2026 World Cup has begun in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The good thing about the atypical Qatar 2022 in winter is that the margin is reduced from four years to three and a half years.
FIFA and its president Gianni Infantino have long emphasized the novelties that will be presented in this upcoming tournament around the main tournament, which will expand to 48 teams. Quotas are also confirmed for each federation, and the shape of the final stage groups remains up in the air.
The first time it was contested in the trio headquarters
The 2026 World Cup will be the first to be held in three different countries: Canada, the United States and Mexico. Although the vast majority of American headquarters Eleven, three for the Mexicans and two for the Canadians.
In Qatar 2022, all stadiums were in Its radius is 35 kilometers from the capital, Doha. In the 2026 edition, Between Vancouver and Mexico City there are 4,781.9 km.
Another novelty is that there are three different countries being seeded directly as hosts of three teams.
What teams would have entered Qatar 2022 with the quotas extended?
This will be the first time that the World Cup tournament will be played with the participation of 48 teams. Therefore, the seat quotas in the Confederation have been extended, and UEFA will be as well 16 instead of 13 The current, according to the 2022 qualifying stage, they would have entered Ukraine, Sweden and North Macedoniawho eliminated Italy in the first round of the second group.
COMMEBOL rises from the four direct teams and one with the previous tie to 6 + 1. No Peru No Colombia They had run out of the World Cup and Chili pepper He was going to get his chance.
The other Confederation of America, CONCACAF, would go from 3 and 1 to 6 and 2. In 2022 they would have Costa Rica and Panama; Jamaica and El Salvador They could have opportunity. The qualifying stage that will be particularly open because the first three from the last you will not play because they are the hosts and they have a guaranteed place.
In the African Confederation (CAF) runs from 5 to 9 and the play-off. Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali She would enter according to the final qualifying round, and only one had to play a role hem.
In Asia (AFC) their representation doubles, from 4 + 1 in the qualifiers to 8 + 1. Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Australiawithout having to beat Peru, they would have participated in the World Cup and Syria I had to play a replay.
There will be a fixed place for Oceania (OFC), which will be permanent, except for the surprise of the capital New Zealand. Since the march from Australia to Asia does not have much competition. Solomon Islands I would have had a chance to play a playoff game.
Groups of three teams of four or a Swiss system?
What has not yet been confirmed is the group system that will be used at the World Cup. In principle, it was said that there would be 16 groups of three, and the two best groups would enter and the round of 16 would be added.
Gianni Infantino, in a press conference in Qatar 2022 and in an interview with Hristo Stoichkov, confirmed the success of the group stage in Qatar 2022 with four teams. Where there was more emotion until the last date, the teams least qualified for a day to go and big surprises like Saudi Arabia or Japan.
Another option, though less likely, is the Swiss system. Big groups (there was talk of four out of twelve) where you don’t face everyone but play, for example, two against the highest-ranked teams in FIFA and two against those with the lowest score.
The 2026 World Cup opts for the democratization and globalization of football, expanding the quotas by a higher percentage for the less powerful confederations. In addition, this will be an opportunity to turn the page after more than questionable nominations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.
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