World Cup expansion to have more matches than originally planned


FIFA is set to approve an expansion of the men’s World Cup today with 40 more matches from the 2026 tournament in North America, Sky News understands.

The decision to grow from 64 to 104 matches – rather than the 80 originally planned in 2026 – is due to come at a meeting of the governing body’s ruling council in Kigali, Rwanda.

Adding matches helps FIFA chase its target of more than £9bn in revenue but it also solves format issues for the event being co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

FIFA had already agreed to enlarge the tournament from 32 to 48 teams.

Argentina are the current World Cup holders

Rather than having 16 groups each featuring three teams, FIFA will have 12 groups each with four countries, sources say.

Read more:
Is this how we’ll watch the 2026 World Cup?

The top two teams will advance to a round of 32 with the eight best third-placed teams.

More on Fifa

It means teams reaching the final will now have to play eight matches, rather than the seven played by Qatar 2022 finalists Argentina and France.

The final in the United States is due to be on Sunday, 19 July 2026.

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