One of the most ancient sports competitions in the world will celebrate another edition very soon. November 20 is the exact date when Qatar 2022 will kick off. But, of course, there is a long history that goes about a century back into the past. As it should happen with every tournament, FIFA World Cup’s format has evolved throughout the years.

A very different thing between the inaugural Uruguay 1930 edition and the modern era championships relies on the number of participants. In the beginning, only 13 nations from across the globe travelled to South America to play in the first-ever World Cup. However, that figure grew as soccer did. Actually, right from Italy 1934 the National squads set to play were 16. That stayed put until Argentina 1978, although not always every qualified team participated.

Granted, those were difficult times in a period that included two World Wars, so in some occasions teams decided to withdraw from participating. Spain 1982 saw the main draw go up to 24. It took a total of just four World Cups for FIFA to make yet another change considering the globalization the sport had in those years. It was then when we arrived to the amount of participants that Qatar 2022 will have, but exactly how many teams are going to be in it?

What is the number of teams that will participate in the World Cup?

That 1982 World Cup held in Spain set a figure that remained through Mexico 1986, Italy 1990, USA 1994, all the way to France 1998. In that year, not only the hosts kept the trophy at home. It was also the last time we saw a 24-team World Cup and there is no way we are going back to a time with fewer squads.

In all, Qatar 2022 will have a total of 32 participants trying to win the FIFA World Cup. This edition is formed by 13 European teams, four South Americans, five Africans, four North or Central Americans, five Asians, and one from Oceania. That lone squad is Australia, although they play in the qualifiers organized by the Asian Football Confederation.

The number was always going to be subject to change based on the growth soccer had. That exponential increase in popularity led to one more modification for the next World Cup. In 2017 FIFA approved unanimously the rise to 48 starting in the tournament set to be hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico in 2026. On a side note, that will also be the first one to be played in three countries.

Using this World Cup Predictor, you can see every potential outcome of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.