Australia’s task to qualify for the FIFA World Cup every four years has become a little easier with FIFA announcing additional qualification places for the Asian Football Confederation.
With the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico approaching the 48 teams – above the traditional 32 countries – the Asian Football Confederation is set to award eight direct qualification spots for the football event.
Australia have reached the finals five times in a row, but on three occasions – 2006, 2018 and 2022 – the Green and Gold teams were forced to qualify by intercontinental qualifiers, which saw much-needed victory over the likes of Peru and Honduras. Uruguay to reach the main event.
In their last two Asian qualifying careers, Australia has been ranked fifth as the best team in the region, which means that the Australian team will be confident of finishing as part of the eight best countries in Asia to reach the 2026 World Cup.
There is also the possibility of a ninth place in the AFC through an Intercontinental Playoff with another Confederation.
The new format for the Asian Qualifiers will see Australia enter the second qualifying stage alongside 36 countries, where nine groups of four groups will play in a league format to see the progress of the first two teams.
Eighteen countries that qualified from Stage Two will be placed into three groups of six, with the top two teams in each group advancing directly to the World Cup.
The remaining two direct qualifying spots will be derived from the third and fourth seed nations from each group divided into two groups of three, with the group winners booking their ticket to the big group.
The runner-up at this point would have the right to play with another country from a different confederation for a possible ninth place.
Where is the 2026 World Cup located?
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held across three North American countries: the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Of the 80 matches to be played in the tournament, 60 will be played in the United States, 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.
The United States and Mexico have previously hosted the men’s World Cup, with Mexico set to become the first country to host three men’s tournaments (1970, 1986 and 2026).
After hosting in 1994, the United States will soon join the list of countries that have hosted several men’s World Cup tournaments, along with Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France and Germany.
Canada hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup (2015) and the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup (2007), making it the experienced to welcome the world once again on the occasion of the Senior Men’s Championship.
More: Complete the FIFA World Cup 2022 schedule
2026 World Cup Host Cities
The venues and cities to host the matches were announced by FIFA on 16 June 2022 at an event in New York City that was broadcast live around the world. There are 16 stadiums selected by FIFA from among the 23 cities selected by the consolidated bid for the 2026 World Cup matches.
The host venues will be spread across the three countries, with 11 venues in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada.
Two of the stadiums, the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, have previously hosted World Cup Finals. As it stands, Estadio Azteca remains one of only two stadiums in the world to have hosted the men’s World Cup twice, along with the Maracana in Brazil.
Confirmed stadiums to host the 2026 World Cup matches
|Mexico City||Mexico||Estadio Azteca||87523|
|New York City||New York / New Jersey||United States of America||MetLife Stadium||82500|
|Dallas||TX||United States of America||AT&T Stadium||80000|
|Kansas City||kansas||United States of America||Arrowhead Stadium||76416|
|Houston||TX||United States of America||NRG Stadium||71.795|
|Atlanta||GA||United States of America||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||71000|
|Los Angeles||California||United States of America||SoFi . Stadium||70240|
|Philadelphia||Palestinian Authority||United States of America||Lincoln’s financial field||69176|
|Seattle||W||United States of America||Cavity field||69,000|
|San Francisco||California||United States of America||Levi’s Stadium||68500|
|Boston||Master’s||United States of America||Gillette Stadium||65878|
|Miami||Florida||United States of America||Hard Rock Stadium||64767|
|Toronto||on me||Canada||BMO . field||45500 *|
More: World Cup 2022 kit releases
How many teams in the 2026 World Cup?
FIFA announced in 2017 that the 2026 World Cup would be the first to feature an expanded format from the 32-team format used since 1998 in France.
The tournament stadium will grow by 50 percent to a 48-nation tournament. This will see an additional 16 teams take part in the event, resulting in increased global interest as well as more games across the tournament.
However, FIFA has confirmed that the new format will not increase the maximum number of matches any team will play, with a maximum of seven matches per final.
In the new format for the 2026 World Cup, the group stage will consist of 16 groups of three teams. Then the top two teams in each group will advance to the 32-team extended knockout stage that is sure to create chaos and intrigue.
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