Hiking World Cup team numbers will intensify competition: Santos

Lisbon, Jan 13 (IANS) Portugal’s football coach Fernando Santos has backed the idea of increasing the number of participating nations in the 2026 World Cup to 48 from the current 32 as it will allow all teams to play the same amount of games and will be more competitive.

Talking to media persons here on Thursday he acknowledged that he was a little hesitant when the idea was proposed for the first time, as he imagined it would increase the number of games for each nation, which could make it more complicated, reports Efe.

Santos explained that the same thing happened in Euro 2016, and all teams were worried about the new 24-team-format, but it turned into a great soccer investment for many nations.

FIFA, last Tuesday, agreed to increase to 48 the number of participating nations in the 2026 World Cup, which will be divided into 16 groups, each group having three teams.

The group winner and the runner up would then qualify for the knockout round of 32.

–IANS

gau/dg

Top