world cup | The 2026 version in North America could have 104 matches

(Kigali) The 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America expanded on Tuesday.

FIFA elevated the dimensions of the match for the second time – six years after first deciding to take action – by adjusting the group stage construction.

By selecting teams of 4 nations as a substitute of three, FIFA has drawn up a schedule of 104 matches that can final roughly six weeks, in June-July 2026, in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The 16 host cities – 11 in the USA, three in Mexico and two in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) – will host one other 24 matches, along with the 80 matches already scheduled for the World Cup, which for the primary time in its historical past will host 48 nations.

The unique plan referred to as for Canada and Mexico to host 10 matches every. The opposite 60 had been to be performed by the USA, together with the entire knockout matches. Now FIFA must resolve methods to distribute the bonus components.

FIFA mentioned the choice got here after a “complete assessment that took under consideration sporting integrity, participant welfare, staff journey, industrial and sporting attractiveness in addition to staff and supporter expertise”.

The brand new format of the World Cup will function 12 teams of 4 groups as a substitute of the 16 teams of three, the plan chosen in 2017. Each choices included a 32-team knockout spherical. The ultimate might be held on July 19.

The format ensures that each staff performs within the World Cup at the very least thrice as a substitute of two, which ends up in a crowded group stage of 72 matches earlier than reaching the knockout phases. The 4 semi-finalists play eight matches, greater than final 12 months’s match in Qatar.

Your entire 2022 World Cup in Qatar featured 64 matches for the seventh and remaining version of the 32-team format. The 1998 World Cup in France was the primary by which 32 groups participated.