Gianni Infantino Hints At Changes To The 2026 World Cup Group Stages Structure

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In his most recent statement to the media, FIFA President Gianni Infantino warned that the structure of the group stage at the 2026 World Cup might change once more.

The game’s governing body originally intended to adjust the group format from eight groups of four to sixteen groups of three in order to accommodate the rise in the number of teams competing in the event.

Infantino has suggested that this might still be changed, possibly returning to the tournament’s original format but with additional groups to account for the increased number of sides.

We are really convinced of the growth, we have been approving a 48-team format with 16 groups of three, where the top two would move into a knockout phase,” he said.

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“So, we have to revisit and discuss if that goes ahead, that is something that will be on the agenda in the next meetings. It is something we need to discuss, whether 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four are better.”

In the group stage of the competition’s Qatar edition, some unexpected names were eliminated, including Germany, a four-time World Cup winner, and a Belgium team that featured Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lukaku.

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