FIFA is once again considering changes to their World Cup tournaments. The world’s governing body of the sport will expand the amount of participating teams to 48 ahead of the 2026 competition in North America. This could change how the group stage is played out.

Reports surfaced earlier in the month that suggested that FIFA would change the entire group stage format. World Cups have consisted of four-team groups since the introduction of 32 teams in 1998. Two of the four nations in each group advance to the knockout rounds in this current formula.

The recent rumors suggested that FIFA would, however, opt to go with three-team groups for the next tournament. This would essentially change the entire format of the group stage. It would also most likely signify the end of simultaneous group stage matches as well.

Infantino a fan of four-team groups

Nevertheless, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has now claimed that the organization could abandon these plans. Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Infantino raved about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He also applauded the current group stage format.

“Here the groups of four have been absolutely incredible,” said Infantino. “Until the last minute of the last match you would not know who goes through.”

“We have to revisit or at least re-discuss the format. This is something that will certainly be on the agenda in the next meeting.”

FIFA boss says 2022 World Cup is “best ever”

Along with praising the thrill of the four-team groups, Infantino also labeled the current World Cup the best of all-time. “Thanks to everyone involved, Qatar, all the volunteers to make this the best World Cup ever,” said Infantino.

“It has been an incredible success, approaching five billion in terms of viewing figures. The fans meeting the Arab world, it has been very important for the future of all of us.”

Although Infantino did also call the 2018 World Cup the greatest of all time, there is no doubting the excitement on the pitch during the 2022 version. Soccer fans all over the world will hope that FIFA doesn’t tinker with the group stage format ahead of the 2026 World Cup in North America.

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