It looks increasingly likely the World Cup Finals will be contested by 40 or 48 countries in 2026...
It looks increasingly likely the World Cup Finals will be contested by 40 or 48 countries in 2026, after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday there was a 'positive' feeling towards an expansion among councillors.
Infantino, who favours a larger tournament, does not believe extra teams will dilute the event's quality, citing Costa Rica's progression from their World Cup group in 2014 while England and Italy were knocked out.
A decision will be made at the FIFA council meeting in January, with all the analysis concentrating on 40- and 48-team formats.
One proposal is 10 groups of four with the winners plus the six best runners-up progressing to the round of 16.
But favourite is the 48-strong option of 16 sides progressing from a Finals play-off involving 32 countries, joining 16 seeded teams in the group stage. Infantino sees no problem with so many sides going home after one match.