World Cup Brazil Line-up Rep. Pic
This is a representational image. Fauzan Saari/Unsplash.

The 2030 FIFA World Cup is set to have a format different to any other past editions: according to Conmebol, the South American federation of soccer, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will play a role in a competition that will mostly be held in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Alejandro Dominguez, president of the regional government body, said that the countries will host inaugural matches in the competition, which will mark the 100th anniversary of its first edition. "The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began," he said, in reference to the fact that the first-ever edition was hosted by Uruguay, which then would go on to win the final against Argentina.

The agreement puts an end to rivaling bids between the groups of countries and paves the way to circumscribing the competition for the 2034 edition to Asia and Oceania. Saudi Arabia and Australia have both expressed interest in hosting.

The decision still needs formal approval by the body's 211 members, but it is expected to be only a formality. "In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents — Africa, Europe and South America — six countries — Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay — welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

Spain, Portugal and Morocco will will automatically qualify to the World Cup, but it wasn't immediately clear if Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay would. If that ends up being the case, it will bring the available spots to 42. That is because, as of the next edition, the total amount of qualifying teams will be increased to 48 from the current 32. The competition's format will change as well.

The 2026 World Cup will be hosted by Mexico, the U.S and Canada. It will be the first that time three countries organize the competition, which in 2022 reached almost 1.5 billion viewers, according to FIFA. The first match will be played on June 9 and the final will take place on July 19. There will be a total of 104 matches across 16 stadiums (2 in Canada, 3 in Mexico and 11 in the U.S). There will be a total of 12 groups comprised by 4 teams each. The first and second best, as well as the eight best third teams, will move on to the round of 32, where a knockout stage will begin.

Argentina is the current defending champion, following a nail-biter final in which Lionel Messi led his team to victory after beating France in the penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw.

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