2026 World Cup Qualifiers – What We Know So Far

The countdown to one of the biggest sporting events in the world has begun. The 2026 FIFA World Cup promises to be a spectacle like no other. 

In fact, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is set to make history as it expands to a whopping 48 teams, a significant increase from the traditional 32-team format. 

This expansion opens doors for nations that have previously struggled to qualify, making it a truly global tournament. But how will this mammoth event work?

When Does the Tournament Start?

The world is eagerly awaiting the kickoff of the 2026 World Cup. So, when will this football event begin?  Mark your calendars as the 2026 FIFA World Cup is set to take place in June 2026. It promises to be a month filled with thrilling matches, unforgettable moments, and football fever that will sweep the globe. 

Before you dive more into the tournament’s details, explore the thrill of betting on the World Cup. Sports betting has become an integral part of the fan experience, adding an extra layer of excitement to every match. 

In fact, sports betting is really popular with African football fans. If you’re in South Africa and looking to get in on the action, check out Betway register South Africa, and join fans who enjoy wagering on their favorite teams.

Who Are the Teams That Qualified?

While it’s widely expected that the host nations—the USA, Canada, and Mexico—will automatically qualify, it’s important to note that this hasn’t been officially confirmed.

FIFA has laid out a new qualification process, which includes a formula that determines the number of teams from each confederation that will earn their spot. These include:

  • Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) – 16 teams will qualify.
  • Confederation of African Football (CAF) – 9 teams will qualify.
  • Asian Football Confederation (AFC) – 8 teams will qualify.
  • South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) – 6 teams will qualify.
  • Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) – 6 teams will qualify.
  • Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) – 1 teams will qualify.

Additionally, a playoff tournament will involve six USA, Mexico, and Canada teams to decide the final two teams to make it to the World Cup. The seeding and selection process will be based on FIFA world rankings.

Where Will FIFA 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Happen?

The 2026 World Cup will be hosted across 16 cities in the USA, three in Mexico, and two in Canada. FIFA aims to create regional groups of cities to minimize travel for fans and teams. 

This approach will ensure that games are hosted in different cities but with minimal travel distances, making it easier for fans to support their teams.

How Will the Tournament Work?

The format of the 2026 World Cup is quite different from the past. With 48 qualified teams, they will be split into 16 groups of three, a departure from the previous four-team group stage format. Each team will play two group stage games, down from three, adding to the intensity of each match. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the Round of 32.

An additional knockout round, the Round of 32, has been introduced, making the tournament even more competitive. From there, the knockout stage will proceed as seen in previous World Cups, with the Round of 16 leading to the grand finale.

Prepare for the FIFA 2026 World Cup

As the tournament approaches, football enthusiasts can gear up for a month of thrilling matches, witnessing the world’s top teams battle it for glory. The 2026 FIFA World Cup is on the horizon, and it’s set to redefine football history. 

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