Soccer fans shouldn’t break a sweat at the World Cup with 48 teams

There are many reasons to be angry and worried when it comes to football.

Manchester City have been charged with false accounting to cover up financial fair play violations. Barcelona, ​​the leaders in LaLiga, are facing corruption allegations after it was revealed they paid half a million dollars a year to the vice-president of Spain’s Referees Committee between 2016 and 2018. Juventus, who have already dropped 15 points this season, must face both a sporting inquiry and a criminal investigation into false accounting and misleading shareholders. France’s leaders Paris Saint-Germain are managed by a man who also happens to be chairman of the European Club Association, a member of the UEFA Executive Committee and – with his other role as chairman of beIN Sports – one of the biggest bankrolls in the game, and he became involved in an investigation into “kidnapping and torture”.

So yes, these are difficult times for the game. And it’s all worth worrying about, because unless there’s a transparent verdict that everyone understands – one way or another – we’re not going to have closure, we’re just going to have more accusations and continued suspicion.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

What not to worry about: a 48-team World Cup in 2026. At least not now that FIFA has come up with a sensible format.

The FIFA Council on Wednesday approved the 48-team format: four groups of 12 each, with the eight best third-placed teams advancing to a new round of 32. Keyword biblical hair gnashing and teeth pulling.

The quality of the World Cup is watered down! Won’t someone please think about the welfare of the players! The number of games increases by 60%! It’s all about money and greed!

I think that’s a fair compendium of counter-arguments. If there are other valid reasons not Moving to 48 teams, I’m all ears: hit me on Twitter.

In the meantime, let’s look at the most cited arguments, starting with quality dilution. Sure, if you have 48 competitors instead of 32, the “quality” gets diluted because the extra 16 teams probably won’t be as good as the original 32.

So what? Teams from the lower divisions compete in cup competitions around the world. Will Wrexham’s presence ruin your enjoyment of the FA Cup? In a broader sense, the World Cup is not about showcasing the best teams in the game, because the best teams are club teams. Why? Because they have the means and the ability to recruit the best players and coaches regardless of their background, and they play and train together all year round.

So yeah, if you’re sniffing around “quality” then international football isn’t for you – and neither is lower division football and basically every single game apart from the knockout rounds of the Champions League, the Big Six clashes in the Premier League , Tue classic and a few other choice matches. Forgiveness.

In fact, the World Cup has long ceased to be about quality. It’s the biggest sporting event and it’s about taking part, entire countries stop to watch matches, find a kinship with your neighbor or colleague who bugs you to death in real life but for 90 minutes when your team is playing, member becomes from your circle of friends and a guy you want to hug when your country scores.

It’s a showcase of football from around the world. And while places in the competition have traditionally been dominated by countries from Europe and South America (in the name of “quality” of course), it’s only right that the rest of the world gets a chance too. FIFA has 211 member associations, 48 ​​of which take part in the World Cup, meaning 22.7% can take part. For most of the history of the competition, this was roughly the ratio of participating countries. When it went from 16 to 24 nations in 1986, it was 19.7%. And when it went from 24 to 32 in 1998, it was 18.3%. I can live with that if it means the majority of fans around the world are part of a World Cup more than once or twice in their lifetime.

And while we’re on the subject, a nice by-product of a 48-team World Cup is more meaningful group play. Someone is far less likely to be eliminated, even if they lose their first two games. And while you’re far more likely to qualify for qualifiers with two wins in your first two games (and therefore want to rest your regulars in the last group game), if the organizers are smart, they provide a plum incentive to the group to win, such as B. Ensuring that the group winners do not have to travel much (or at all) in the following rounds. That wasn’t a problem in Qatar 2022, considering all matches were basically held in Doha, but with a far bigger presence in 2026 when the tournament comes to the US, Mexico and Canada – and the subsequent World Cups at 48 Teams – not having to Travel could be a game changer.

As for the player welfare argument, sure, playing 62.5% more games sounds brutal right? But in reality we’re talking about four teams playing an extra game (and for two of those teams it’s the third-place game that nobody but immediate family will ever remember. Hurry! Who finished third in Russia 2018? See She? ). In the previous format, 24 teams out of 32 played four or fewer games. In this format, 32 out of 48 play four or fewer games.

Player welfare is not to be taken lightly, I agree. But a summer tournament preceded by at least three weeks of no games, followed by at least another three weeks of no games post-tournament (longer for teams eliminated before the semifinals, which the vast majority is) is hardly the issue. The tournament is expected to last 39 days. If your group is one of the later-starters and you reach the semi-finals, you’ll play a maximum of eight games in 33 days, which is already a regular occurrence for many players during club seasons, except they don’t get a month off before and after.

Which brings us to the greed and money argument. No one will deny that a 48-team World Cup will bring in more money simply because more games are played. Yes, FIFA likes to make money. So do Apple, Google and Tinder. The difference is that the vast majority of FIFA’s revenue is redistributed to the member associations, more than half of which would not exist without FIFA’s annual cash injections. That’s why they voted for a 48-team World Cup: it brings in more money and allows them to actually run a federation, tournaments, youth and women’s football.

God forbid that the poorer countries around the world support a World Cup format that allows them to actually play a sport with a minimum of dignity.

Sure, critics will point to the numerous FIFA scandals of the past and talk about how this amounts to patronage and pig keg politics, giving outsized power to Infantino or whoever sits in the big chair at the time, FIFA funds against votes from poorer ones exchange countries. And yes, we all know about the bribery and corruption that took place in the Sepp Blatter era. (We were reminded of this just this week when a former Fox executive was convicted by a New York court of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to secure broadcasting rights to the World Cup.)

But it’s a bit like welfare or student aid. If there are people cheating on welfare or a federal financial assistance program, do you just shut it down for everyone? Or are you making it harder to cheat the government by having a more transparent system and greater vigilance?

I feel like at the heart of the complaints about the 48-team World Cup is a kind of underlying conservatism and a pink nostalgia for the game when we first fell in love with it. When – at least most of us – were younger and fitter and had less to worry about. But the world is changing and football is changing with it.

So please reserve your worries and legitimate anger for other football-related matters. The 48-team World Cup will be fine. You will love it. Trust me. Soccer fans shouldn’t break a sweat at the World Cup with 48 teams

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button