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World Cup in Qatar was the last tournament hosted by 32 countries.

From the North and Central America World Cup, which will be held four years later, it will expand to 48 countries, and the impression of the World Cup in Qatar is expected to influence the way the next tournament will be held.

This is Reporter Bae Jeong-hoon.


The 2026 World Cup, co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, has increased the number of participating countries to 48, making it inevitable to change the way the competition is held.

FIFA has initially considered the method of dividing the group into 16 groups of 3 countries, and then the first and second place teams in the group advance to the round of 32 to hold a tournament.

But the World Cup in Qatar changed FIFA's mind.

Just as Korea had to watch the results of Ghana and Uruguay after defeating Portugal on the last day of the group stage, FIFA announced that it would completely review the 48-nation competition method while providing the fun of watching unknown nervousness and excitement until the end.

This is because when 3 teams are assigned to a group, the number of cases is fixed with the last game left, reducing the fun and risking match-fixing.

[Infantino/FIFA President: This World Cup group stage was a success.

Until the last game, the last hour, we didn't know who would advance to the round of 16.

We need to revise, or at least discuss again, the method of proceeding with the next World Cup previously thought.]

As of now, it is likely to be organized into 12 groups of 4 teams in each group, but if a round of 32 tournament is held, including 8 wild card teams in 3rd place in the group, the duration of the tournament will be extended by about a week.

FIFA plans to finalize how the next World Cup will be played next year.

(Video editing: Lee Jung-taek, CG: Seo Seung-hyun)