The governing body of world football has ratified the changes coming to the FIFA World Cup in 2026 ahead of its Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 2026 edition of the competition will be the biggest in the history of the competition with the field expanding to 48 teams from the current capacity of 32.
Canada, Mexico and the United States will jointly hold the competition.
Among other changes approved for the 2026 FIFA World Cup was an increase in total matches to a staggering 104 from a previous recommendation of 80 games.
The new format will stick to drawing four teams in a group after a suggestion of 16 groups of three was shot down over fears of collusion in the final group games. The number of groups, however, will increase from 8 to 12.
Instead of the usual top two teams from each group advancing to the last 16, the 2026 edition will also see the eight best third-placed teams moving into the knockout round of 32.
“The FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment to the FIFA World Cup 2026 competition format” FIFA said.
“The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches while providing balanced rest time between competing teams.”
The world cup has had 32 teams since the 1998 edition, with eight groups of four and the finalists playing seven games each. The increase in games means that teams reaching the summit clash in 2026 will now play eight matches in total.
Argentina, the winners in Qatar, will defend their crown when the next edition rolls around.