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October 4 2023 4.59pm

Glimpse into 2026 FIFA World Cup preparation

August 30 2023

World Cup

World Cup

Although the FIFA World Cup is still three years away, the excitement and enthusiasm are already building up along the journey, writes Ben Leyland.

The FIFA World Cup is the most distinguished football tournament globally. It takes place every four years, and countries and cities spend a lot of money preparing for this prestigious event.

So how will the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) prepare for the World Cup in 2026? And what will this upcoming global event look like?

How World Cup 2026 differ from previous World Cups

After the FIFA Council meeting before the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, there was an agreement to make changes for the 2026 World Cup.

The format will no longer be the same as the previous one, with 16 groups of three teams. Instead, the new rule will feature 12 groups of four teams. This change will also increase the number of games played from 80 to 104.

The 2026 World Cup will occur across three North American countries: the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

This marks the first occasion when the tournament will be hosted jointly by three nations, and it will also be a significant moment for Canada, as the country will host the event for the first time.

The tournament will encompass 16 venues, serving as host cities for the 2026 World Cup. The United States will contribute 11, Canada 2, and Mexico 3. This starkly contrasts Qatar's approach, where almost all stadiums were within a 15-minute car ride from each other.

In 2026, the World Cup venues will be spread across four distinct time zones, and the outcome of the final group stage draw could significantly impact the journey of a national team in the tournament.

Furthermore, the 2026 World Cup will introduce an expanded format, accommodating 48 teams instead of the previous 32. These teams will be divided into 12 groups of 4. The round of 32 will now welcome the top two teams from each group, along with the eight most accomplished third-place teams from the groups.

As a result, participants aiming for victory must engage in eight matches, spanning from the group stage to the final, rather than the previous count of seven.

North Americans’ enthusiasm over World Cup 2026

The excitement in North America is building up as the World Cup approaches.

Football could become a massive hit in this region when the tournament arrives, as more people in the USA and Canada are tuning in to watch the sport than ever before. Moreover, standout players from both countries have a lot of potential to become stars by 2026.

In Canada, players like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David are showing great promise, while emerging talents like Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams are starting to shine in the USA.

As noted by Dr. Kevin Tennent of York University, the upcoming World Cup represents a significant chance for cities in the US and Canada. Many of these cities have recently harnessed sports to boost urban renewal.

As we approach 2026, cities will likely link new transportation and redevelopment projects to the hosting of the World Cup. While this presents an exciting opportunity, it's essential to be cautious as these plans could be taken over by advocates of transportation, highways, and other infrastructure projects.

The entertainment industry is also pivotal in making football popular in the US and worldwide. Thanks to services like Amazon Prime, watching famous soccer clubs worldwide is easier than ever. TV shows such as "All or Nothing" have given us an intimate glimpse into clubs like Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal.

As anticipation builds for one of the most prestigious global sporting events, the convergence of sports betting and the tournament presents an opportunity for fans to elevate their involvement. Enthusiasts of FIFA WC 2026 in the United States can place bets on match outcomes, player performances, and various in-game events. This integration enhances the World Cup experience for fans, fostering new levels of interaction.

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