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FIFA World Cup to Include 48 Teams in 2026

Ben Solomon / ESPN Images(ZURICH) -- The FIFA World Cup is expanding come 2026.

The FIFA Council met in Zurich on Monday and Tuesday, and unanimously voted to increase the number of teams allowed to compete from 32 to 48.

Under the new format, the 48 teams will be split into 16 groups of three. "The top two teams from each group will then advance to a 32-team knockout stage," FIFA explained in a press release Tuesday.

The world's governing body of soccer added that the format "has been drawn up in such a way that there is no reduction in the overall number of rest days and a guaranteed maximum of seven matches for the teams reaching the final, while the current 32-day tournament duration is kept, so as not to increase the length of time for which clubs have to release their players."

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