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World Cup 2026 to increase by 40 matches of 104 fixtures

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FIFA is set to approve an expansion of the men’s World Cup with 40 more matches from the 2026 tournament in North America.

The decision to grow from 64 to 104 matches rather than the 80 originally planned in 2026 is due to come at a meeting of the governing body’s ruling council in Kigali, Rwanda.

Adding matches helps FIFA chase its target of more than £9bn in revenue but it also solves format issues for the event being co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Rather than having 16 groups each featuring three teams, FIFA will have 12 groups each with four countries, sources say.

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The combined number of rest, release and tournament days remains the same as previous World Cups in 2010, 2014 and 2018 – 56 days.

The top two teams will advance to a round of 32 with the eight best third-placed teams.

It means teams reaching the final will now have to play eight matches, rather than the seven played by Qatar 2022 finalists Argentina and France.

The final in the United States is due to be on Sunday July 19, 2026.

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