2026 World Cup

World Cup 2026, Euro 2028, etc.
Tazmania
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Post by Tazmania »

- The final four matchdays of the group stage will feature six matches per day. Matches in the same group will be played simultaneously to maintain the integrity of the competition.
- All other group-stage matchdays will feature four matches per day across four kick-off times.


(FIFA)
shemi
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Post by shemi »

Per the FIFA Q&A: "Following the final draw, matches will be allocated to stadiums already assigned to groups, and kick-off times confirmed, enabling FIFA to optimise the conditions for players and fans, including those attending the tournament and watching across the globe. This will ensure that both players and fans have shorter journeys, particularly throughout the group stage, and provide FIFA with the best possible opportunity to schedule more matches at favourable times for global audiences."

So the group stage fixture assignments (except for the host groups) and kick-off times will not be confirmed until after the final draw. However we can expect an announcement sometime of which stadiums are assigned to which groups. Also, the wording to me says they probably will assign the knockout stage pairings to specific venues before the draw, likely once the competition regulations (with the all-important matrices for third-place teams) are confirmed.
shemi
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Post by shemi »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 23:06
So we get the 495 row grid?

And 8 winners get 8 thirds.

Is it going to be fixed so hosts don't meet until semis and USA-Mexico don't meet until final?
I still expect we will have two "mini-tournaments" of 24 teams: with Groups A to F as one section, and Groups G to L as the other. The winner of each section will then advance to the final. This makes the 3rd place combinations much simpler (with the 15 combinations seen from the '86 to '94 World Cup and Euros since '16), and may allow for shorter travel. This was one of the proposals Wenger had talked about: https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/ ... -world-cup
diyx
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Post by diyx »

shemi wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 05:25
Jackson Harrison wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 23:06
So we get the 495 row grid?

And 8 winners get 8 thirds.

Is it going to be fixed so hosts don't meet until semis and USA-Mexico don't meet until final?
I still expect we will have two "mini-tournaments" of 24 teams: with Groups A to F as one section, and Groups G to L as the other. The winner of each section will then advance to the final. This makes the 3rd place combinations much simpler (with the 15 combinations seen from the '86 to '94 World Cup and Euros since '16), and may allow for shorter travel. This was one of the proposals Wenger had talked about: https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/ ... -world-cup
I really hope they will not do this. Splitting the tournament into two makes the best third placed teams rule even unfairer. Imagine missing out on the knockout stage despite having more points than another team, just because your group is, fo instance, randomly called H instead of F.
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MartinW
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Post by MartinW »

Western Region
(Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles)
19 group matches (includes 3x USA and 2x Canada)
Last round fixtures for 3 groups

Central Region
(Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Houston, Dallas, Kansas)
24 group matches (includes 3x Mexico)
Last round fixtures for 4 groups

Eastern Region
(Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, New York NJ)
29 group matches (includes 1x Canada)
Last round fixtures for 5 groups

Perhaps the Central Region will have 4 complete groups and no need for inter-region travel? But I don't think it will be that simple. Presumably Mexico's group plays M1 and M2 on 11 Jun. But then there are three games in Central Region on 14 Jun and one game on 16 Jun. I doubt there will be a group with first matchday assigned for 14 Jun and 16 Jun since that gives two days rest advantage. Historically same matchdays within a group are never more than one day apart.

It looks as if there will be much more crossing of group matches between the West/Centre/East regions than previously expected. The regions seem to be quite flexible for the first couple of matchdays, not a strict divide. It is more clearly separated on the third matchday.
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MartinW
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Post by MartinW »

diyx wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 06:32
shemi wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 05:25 I still expect we will have two "mini-tournaments" of 24 teams: with Groups A to F as one section, and Groups G to L as the other. The winner of each section will then advance to the final. This makes the 3rd place combinations much simpler (with the 15 combinations seen from the '86 to '94 World Cup and Euros since '16), and may allow for shorter travel. This was one of the proposals Wenger had talked about: https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/ ... -world-cup
I really hope they will not do this. Splitting the tournament into two makes the best third placed teams rule even unfairer. Imagine missing out on the knockout stage despite having more points than another team, just because your group is, fo instance, randomly called H instead of F.
I agree it's not ideal to split into two halves, but I think it is almost certain this will happen. The R32 will have 8 clear matches (1st v 2nd or 2nd v 2nd) plus 8 matches (1st v 3rd) which can't be worked out until the 3rd place rankings are known.

If we need to wait until after the last group matches are played on 27 Jun to work out the full 3rd place ranking of all 12 groups, then it means any R32 match including a 3rd place team can't be arranged until 1 Jul, to allow full three days rest.

In turn that would mean the seven R32 matches on 28/29/30 Jun must be 7 from 8 of the already known fixtures. But that would require some of the teams which played on 27 Jun from groups J/K/L to play again on 30 Jun which doesn't allow three days rest.

Therefore, if the 3rd place ranking is across all 12 groups, it is impossible to arrange the schedule based on the restrictions already announced by Fifa for three days rest. So almost certainly they will have to sub-divide and take best the four 3rd places from each of groups A-F and groups G-L.
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MartinW
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Post by MartinW »

Also using the three days rest rule, it is obvious to see that the QF --> SF routes will be:

M101 SF in Dallas = M97 QF in Boston v M98 QF in Los Angeles
M102 SF in Atlanta = M99 QF in Miami v M100 QF in Kansas

The travel distances will be reasonably fair for the QF winners since each SF venue is roughly in the middle of the two QF venues.
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Jackson Harrison
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

So each group match isn't yet assigned a stadium like in Qatar?
amenina
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Post by amenina »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:37
So each group match isn't yet assigned a stadium like in Qatar?
Appears so. FIFA wants to assign teams to play at certain venues, for example Argentina and/or Brazil to Miami. So this will be done after the draw.
Last edited by amenina on Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:45, edited 1 time in total.
diyx
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Post by diyx »

MartinW wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 08:05
diyx wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 06:32
shemi wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 05:25 I still expect we will have two "mini-tournaments" of 24 teams: with Groups A to F as one section, and Groups G to L as the other. The winner of each section will then advance to the final. This makes the 3rd place combinations much simpler (with the 15 combinations seen from the '86 to '94 World Cup and Euros since '16), and may allow for shorter travel. This was one of the proposals Wenger had talked about: https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/ ... -world-cup
I really hope they will not do this. Splitting the tournament into two makes the best third placed teams rule even unfairer. Imagine missing out on the knockout stage despite having more points than another team, just because your group is, fo instance, randomly called H instead of F.
I agree it's not ideal to split into two halves, but I think it is almost certain this will happen. The R32 will have 8 clear matches (1st v 2nd or 2nd v 2nd) plus 8 matches (1st v 3rd) which can't be worked out until the 3rd place rankings are known.

If we need to wait until after the last group matches are played on 27 Jun to work out the full 3rd place ranking of all 12 groups, then it means any R32 match including a 3rd place team can't be arranged until 1 Jul, to allow full three days rest.

In turn that would mean the seven R32 matches on 28/29/30 Jun must be 7 from 8 of the already known fixtures. But that would require some of the teams which played on 27 Jun from groups J/K/L to play again on 30 Jun which doesn't allow three days rest.

Therefore, if the 3rd place ranking is across all 12 groups, it is impossible to arrange the schedule based on the restrictions already announced by Fifa for three days rest. So almost certainly they will have to sub-divide and take best the four 3rd places from each of groups A-F and groups G-L.
From the rest days perspective I get the point, but this would definitely weeken the integrity of the competition enormously. I'm certain big discussions about the format would arise after the group stage.

I can imagine them being more flexible about the 3 rest days between the group stage and round of 32, because only 2 rest days happened quite a lot in previous tournaments. Moreover, they can arrange matches that involve a third placed team from groups A - E on or B - F on June 29, because at least one of them will certainly be qualified for R32.
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Jackson Harrison
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

amenina wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:42
Jackson Harrison wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:37
So each group match isn't yet assigned a stadium like in Qatar?
Appears so. FIFA wants to assign teams to play at certain venues, for example Argentina and/or Brazil to Miami. So this will be done after the draw.
But R32 pairings known before then?
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Post by amenina »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:53
amenina wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:42
Jackson Harrison wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:37

So each group match isn't yet assigned a stadium like in Qatar?
Appears so. FIFA wants to assign teams to play at certain venues, for example Argentina and/or Brazil to Miami. So this will be done after the draw.
But R32 pairings known before then?
The KO pairings are part of the regulations, so it will be known when the regulations are officially approved, almost certainly before the final tournament draw, since the draw procedure itself is part of the regulations.
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Post by amenina »

diyx wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 09:42
MartinW wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 08:05
diyx wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 06:32

I really hope they will not do this. Splitting the tournament into two makes the best third placed teams rule even unfairer. Imagine missing out on the knockout stage despite having more points than another team, just because your group is, fo instance, randomly called H instead of F.
I agree it's not ideal to split into two halves, but I think it is almost certain this will happen. The R32 will have 8 clear matches (1st v 2nd or 2nd v 2nd) plus 8 matches (1st v 3rd) which can't be worked out until the 3rd place rankings are known.

If we need to wait until after the last group matches are played on 27 Jun to work out the full 3rd place ranking of all 12 groups, then it means any R32 match including a 3rd place team can't be arranged until 1 Jul, to allow full three days rest.

In turn that would mean the seven R32 matches on 28/29/30 Jun must be 7 from 8 of the already known fixtures. But that would require some of the teams which played on 27 Jun from groups J/K/L to play again on 30 Jun which doesn't allow three days rest.

Therefore, if the 3rd place ranking is across all 12 groups, it is impossible to arrange the schedule based on the restrictions already announced by Fifa for three days rest. So almost certainly they will have to sub-divide and take best the four 3rd places from each of groups A-F and groups G-L.
From the rest days perspective I get the point, but this would definitely weeken the integrity of the competition enormously. I'm certain big discussions about the format would arise after the group stage.

I can imagine them being more flexible about the 3 rest days between the group stage and round of 32, because only 2 rest days happened quite a lot in previous tournaments. Moreover, they can arrange matches that involve a third placed team from groups A - E on or B - F on June 29, because at least one of them will certainly be qualified for R32.
Yes I think a possible solution is this:

1. After the matches of 25 June are played, six groups are finished, and we know the ranking of six third-placed teams. The top two of those six are guaranteed to play in the knockout stage. So those two teams are assigned to play a group winner, on or after 29 June, guaranteeing at least three rest days.

2. After the matches of 26 June are played, nine groups are finished, and excluding the two third-placed teams already assigned to play a group winner, we know the ranking of seven third-placed teams. The top three of those seven are guaranteed to play in the knockout stage. So those three teams are assigned to play a group winner, on or after 30 June, guaranteeing at least three rest days.

3. After the matches of 27 June are played, all twelve groups are finished, and excluding the five third-placed teams already assigned to play a group winner, we know the ranking of seven third-placed teams. The top three of those seven are guaranteed to play in the knockout stage. So those three teams are assigned to play a group winner, on or after 1 July, guaranteeing at least three rest days.
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Post by amenina »

I am also looking at where Canada and Mexico will play the R32 and R16 matches.

Since there are two R32 matches both in Canada and Mexico, I am assuming if they finish top two in their group, they will be guaranteed to play their R32 in their country.

For example, if Canada win their group, they stay to play at Vancouver. If they finish second, they have to travel to Toronto.

If Mexico win their group, they continue to play at Mexico City. If they finish second, they will play at Monterrey.

Now what about their R16 match? There is only one R16 match both in Canada and Mexico. Again, I assume that if either team win their group and then win their R32 match, they will play in their own country.

So if Canada win their group then win their R32 match in Vancouver, they will continue to play their R16 match in Vancouver. And if Mexico win their group and then win their R32 match in Mexico City, they will continue to play their R16 match in Mexico City.

But what if they finish as runners-up and then win their R32 match, will they have to play in another country? Alternatively, if they still play their R16 match in their own country, it would mean the group winners and runners-up of their group will potentially play each other in R16, which is quite strange.

Of course, if either of them finish third in their group, they will have to travel outside of their country to play the R32 match. We know that Mexico would still be the "home" team if they play in USA, but Canada playing in USA would be a bit weird.

So I am guessing we will see something like this:

1. If Canada and Mexico win their group, they will play their R32 match, and the potential R16 match, in their country.

2. If Canada and Mexico finish second, they will play their R32 match in their country, but not the potential R16 match.

3. If Canada and Mexico finish third and advance to knockout stage, they will play their R32 match outside their country.

So this would give a good incentive for them to win their group.

And FIFA will most likely find a way to avoid USA having to play in Canada/Mexico no matter where they finish in their group, even if they finish third.
Last edited by amenina on Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:49, edited 1 time in total.
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