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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

FIFA announces new expanded format and dates for 2026 World Cup

FIFA have approved the international match calendar, including the new format of the 48-team 2026 World Cup, the date of the Final and an expanded Club World Cup every four years.

The governing body of football, FIFA, announced on Tuesday that the 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams instead of 32 teams.

As a result of the new blueprint, the 2026 event will feature 104 matches, a significant increase over the 64 matches played in the 2022 tournament.

“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,” said FIFA.

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The new format also means the top two in each group will go through to the knockout round, along with the eight best third-placed sides.

While the duration of the North American tournament is not yet known, participants will be joining their squads on 25 May for a shortened preparation period.

In 2026, the number of stadiums hosting the tournament will increase from 8 in Qatar to 16, with 11 of them located in the United States, 3 in Mexico, and 2 in Canada.

The host city for the final, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 19, has not been determined among the 16 cities.

Based on the new calendar, the FIFA World Cup 2026 final will be played on Sunday, 19 July 2026, with the mandatory release period starting on 25 May 2026, following the last official club match on 24 May 2026 (exemptions may apply to the final matches of confederation club competitions until 30 May 2026 subject to FIFA’s approval).

With 56 days, the total combined number of rest, release and tournament days remain identical to the 2010, 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup™ editions.

The detailed Men’s International Match Calendar 2025-2030 will be published in the coming days.

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