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FIFA president Gianni Infantino favors a 48-team World Cup that features 16 groups.

By Grant Wahl
December 07, 2016

In information emerging Wednesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino is now supporting a 48-team World Cup with 16 groups of three teams each, something that would go into effect beginning in 2026. The top two teams in each group would advance to the knockout rounds, which would have 32 teams.

Why does Infantino like this idea? Well, clearly Infantino wants to expand the number of teams. A source close to Infantino says this format is better than previous expansion proposals for a few reasons: No teams travel for only one game; each confederation has a guaranteed number of qualified countries; and it’s easier to understand for fans, TV and sponsors.

Initial reaction hasn’t been very positive, however, with critics saying having three-team groups makes the World Cup much more of a crapshoot.

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