FIFA has approved a new 2026 FIFA World Cup format that might benefit Cameroon if they qualify for the tournament
FIFA has approved a new 2026 FIFA World Cup format that will see the number of matches increased from 80 to 104 matches.
The decision was made today in a FIFA meeting in Kigali, Rwanda today.
With the number of teams in the tournament already increased to 48, the new format will see some third place teams qualify for the Round of 32.
The total of 104 World Cup matches would be a significant increase from previous plans that had called for 80 games, and will also have as many as 40 matches more than the recent 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The 2026 tournament will take place in United States, Mexico and Canada and will be the first World Cup tournament with 48 teams, an expansion from the current 32-nation format which has been in place since 1998.
Earlier plans were to split the 48 teams into groups of three teams with each team playing two group stage matches. But after the extraordinary group stage in the Qatar 2022 World Cup and also a situation of match fixing that can easily take place in the a three teams group which will see teams eliminated only two matches, FIFA had to revisit the issue.
The heads of the six member associations met on Monday night and none of them made any objections to the new format. The only concern now is adding extra games will also add extra match days which is expected to not go down well with players and club unions.
The expansion has been celebrated by many confederations as it will see teams who have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup tournament have a greater chance of doing so.
Below is the allocation of how the 48 teams will be selected.
AFC(46+1 eligible FIFA members) 8⅓ spots
CAF(54 eligible FIFA members) 9⅓ spots
CONCACAF-hosts (35 eligible FIFA members) 6⅔ spots
CONMEBOL(10 eligible FIFA members) 6⅓ spots
OFC(11 eligible FIFA members) 1⅓ spots
UEFA(55 eligible FIFA members) 16 spots
The fractions added to their spots mean 1 CAF member team, 1 AFC member team, 2 CONCAF member team, 1 CONMEBOL member team and 1 OFC member team will partake in an intercontinental play offs for two extra spots in the tournament.
Top 10 active players with most goals for the Cameroon national team (see here)… number 4 will suprise you
The updated format will see four teams each in a twelve groups. The top 2 teams from each group alongside the eight best third place teams will qualify for the Round of 32. This will come as good news to countries who always find it difficult to qualify for the knock out stage. They might be able to qualify now even if they finish third.
How might these new 2026 FIFA World Cup format benefit Cameroon?
Countries like Cameroon, Tunisia, Uruguay, etc finished third in the 2022 FIFA World Cup with four points but were eliminated since only the top 2 progressed to the knock out stage. In the 2026 FIFA World Cup the best eight teams of the twelve teams that finish third will progress to the knock out stage. This means if it was the 2026 edition, Cameroon, Tunisia, etc would have progressed to the knock out stage.
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