Conmebol wants to maintain the qualifying format for 2026


The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) will indicate to FIFA its wish not to modify its format of qualifications for its zone for the 2026 World Cup, despite the increase from 32 to 48 teams for the competition. The governing body wants to impose a new model of qualifications.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) affirmed on Tuesday its wish not to modify the format of qualifications for its zone for the World Cup-2026, so that the 10 nations involved meet back and forth, for 18 matches in total. each.

The decision adopted unanimously by the Council of the governing body of South American football at a meeting Monday in Santiago will be transmitted to Fifa which wishes on the other hand to impose a reform. During the 2026 World Cup, which will be jointly organized by Canada, the United States and Mexico, the number of teams participating in the tournament will increase from 32 to 48.

Six teams directly qualified for 2026

For the 2022 World Cup organized at the end of the year in Qatar, South America qualified the first four directly from a single pool, and offered the fifth an intercontinental play-off. For 2026, six teams will be directly qualified, the 7th competing in a play-off.

But the new qualification format wanted by Fifa provides for the creation of two groups of five teams, each of them playing home and away matches against the five teams of the other group, i.e. a minimum of 10 matches. The top two from each group would qualify directly for the World Cup. Third and fourth place would go head-to-head, with the winners getting a direct ticket. The losers would play for a place in the play-off.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay qualified directly for Qatar (November 20-December 18), while Peru, reversed in the intercontinental play-off, lost on penalties against Australia.

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