48 teams, 104 parties in 40 days. That is probably now finally the concept of the XXL World Cup, as they wanted to see FIFA.
The teams now play in 12 groups of four instead of the intended groups of three. This results in an increase in the number of games from 64 to 104 (!), and the schedule also has to be extended.
But does this really make the World Cup any more attractive, or is FIFA only concerned with its own significant advantage? The opinion on social media is clear.
The satirical online magazine fumes reacted to this news with two photos of Italy’s longtime international goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
One shows him at the beginning of his career at AC Parma, the other is a recent one. Buffon returns to his hometown club in 2021 at the age of 43.
On Facebook, the user “Dortmunder Fränki” commented on the far-reaching changes: “You knew it beforehand, but now they’re completely crazy.”
The user “Jan Bremmer” even goes one step further and exaggerates with his irony: “Why the stinginess? Why don’t you do a World Cup every 6 months, preferably with 1000 games, I want to see more football, more and more! I don’t want to sleep anymore, I want to watch football 24/7. I want to see Haiti-Venezuela at 3am in a 200-team World Cup.”
World Cup 2026 with 104 games – more than in five finals combined
For comparison: At the 2026 World Cup, 104 more games will be played than in the first five World Cup finals combined! At the World Cups in 1930, 1934, 1938, 1950 and 1954 a total of “only” 101 games were played.
The high number of matches is not the only problem, for many the increase from 32 to 48 teams is a thorn in the side.
Out of 211 member countries, an incredible 23 percent of all countries take part with 48 teams. The FIFA world rankings also give some food for thought: Burkina Faso, for example, is 50th, only two places behind the place that would at least put them in a place in the finals.
“Schreckensotterbesieger” also writes his doubts on Facebook: “Blows up – just blows up until the balloon bursts, it’s enough and it’s getting more and more scandalous.”
Without Germany and Argentina? Boycott as a solution?
The culprit has already been identified: FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“Heijo Windmüller” says his displeasure on Facebook: “This money-hungry guy didn’t hear the shot.” “Toni Henkes” also says suspicions about Infantino’s motives: “Soon all nations will play at the World Cup. Then you save yourself the quality. Infantino always needs the votes of the small associations. The more associations play at the World Cup, the more votes.”
But how can such a project be prevented with the supposed consensus that is opposed to expansion?
Probably only with a continental boycott, thinks “Andy78”: “If the associations die and take part in everything… Europe and South America should be closed against it and, if necessary, cancel their participation. Without these two associations, a World Cup is not a real World Cup.”