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The FIFA World Cup 2026™ final date has been set as Sunday 19 July following a FIFA Council meeting ahead of the official FIFA Congress on Thursday 16 March, 2023.

The FIFA Council also unanimously made the decision to approve the proposed amendment to the group stage format for the tournament in Canada, Mexico and the USA from 16 groups of three, to 12 groups of four.

The top two teams from each group and the eight best third-place teams from the groups will now progress to the round of 32. Hopefuls will now have to play eight games from group stage through to the final, rather than seven.

The decision to amend the proposed group stage format was based on a thorough review that considered sporting integrity, player welfare, team travel, commercial and sporting attractiveness, as well as team and fan experience. The revised format also mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams.

The 2026 World Cup will the biggest tournament yet in more ways than one. Never before have 48 teams been involved in a single edition, while this is also the first World Cup to be held across three countries.

A mandatory release date for when clubs must allow players to travel to their national sides has been also been set as Monday 25 May (exceptions may apply for clubs participating in confederation club competitions), meaning the 56 rest, release and tournament days are identical to those of the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups.


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