World Cup 2026: Reveal format, groups and days that the competition will last


It’s worth remembering that FIFA’s original idea was to have 16 groups of three teams, with the top two advancing to a 32-team tie, a format that would have involved 80 games, compared to the 64-match format that has been used since 1998. With that in mind, FIFA now wants a tournament with 12 groups of four teams, with the eight best third-place finishers joining the top two for a total of 32 teams to advance.

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