Fifa expands 2026 World Cup to 104 matches, reverts to four-team groups

(Getty Images)

World governing body Fifa has scrapped its proposed three-team group stage for the expanded 48-team men's World Cup in 2026 and will now organise an opening round with 12 groups of four in a tournament featuring a total of 104 matches played over 39 days.

The decision to ditch the original proposal of 16 opening-round groups of three was taken by the Fifa Council meeting today (Tuesday) in Kigali, Rwanda, after the plan attracted criticism for the high potential for dead-rubber matches.

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