When theFIFA World Cup in 2026 arrives, it will mark a new age for the sport of soccer. It will be the first tournament to be hosted by three countries, it will also feature 48 teams. The new allotment of teams has come with criticism but in an effort to make the tournament more inclusive, and also cash in, FIFA expanded the number of teams.

A lot has been made about the type of format the new tournament will have given the number of teams. Now according to The Athletic the FIFA council is set to approve the new format.

Despite talks of possible groups of 3 or play-in rounds the tournament will follow a structure similar to the days of 24 team tournaments, last played in USA 1994. Here is how the new FIFA World Cup would look like.

New 2026 World Cup format

Pending FIFA council approval, the new 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament would breakdown as follows

  • 12 groups of 4 teams, 3 games each
  • Top 2 + 8 best 3rd-place go to Round of 32
  • Combined rest, release, tournament days 56 (same as 2010/14/18 WCs)
  • Max 8 games, up from 7
  • Final - Sunday July 19

The new format of 48 teams already has bids for the 2030 World Cup featuring as many as four nations pitching to co-host the tournament. FIFA is set to make the announcement of new format in the coming days.