Europe 1 with AFP 18:49 p.m., April 03, 2023

Roberto Mancini has a strong opinion on the matter. The coach of Italy deplored the new functioning of the football World Cup from 2026. From the next edition, the number of teams will increase from 32 to 48 teams adding a considerable number of matches to the players.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini regretted on Monday that the World Cup would be expanded to 48 teams from the next edition, in 2026, believing that it was necessary instead to "reduce the number of matches". "We are still increasing the number of matches, while I think we need to reduce it to give players the opportunity to breathe a little," the Azzurro coach told the Italian press, on the sidelines of the presentation of a new partnership agreement of the Italian Federation.

"Otherwise, you get to a point in the season when they're too tired, you have to make them blow from time to time," he added. Under contract until 2026, Roberto Mancini has set himself the goal of bringing Italy back to the World Cup after the Azzurri missed out on qualification in the last two editions, in 2018 in Russia and in 2022 in Qatar.

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104 matches

FIFA announced in March the format of the next World Cup, the first played with 48 teams against 32 in Qatar. It has opted for a formula that will increase the number of matches in football's flagship competition, co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, from 64 to 104. The semi-finalists will play a total of eight games, up from seven.