Two groups and final home run: FIFA evaluates new format for South American Qualifiers

Two groups and final home run: FIFA evaluates new format for South American Qualifiers

Conmebol would have 6 and a half places for the 2026 World Cup and FIFA has been analyzing a new competition structure, according to Movistar Deportes.

Two groups and final home run: FIFA evaluates new format for South American Qualifiers

The Peruvian National Team is ranked 22nd in the FIFA ranking. (Photo: Peruvian National Team)

According to Movistar Deportes, the FIFA has been evaluating applying a new format for the South American Qualifiers to the 2026 World Cup. This is because the Conmebolit would have 6 and a half slots in the next Qualifier and, above all, to make the competition system more competitive.

The next World Cup event will be held in Mexico, the United States and Canada, and will feature the participation of 48 teams. For this reason, FIFA and Conmebol are analyzing the possibility of a new format and there would already be a proposal on the table.

According to the aforementioned media, for the following Qualifiers, an all-against-all system would no longer be executed, but rather they would be divided into two groups to later go on to a final home run. See all the details below.

FIRST PHASE

  • There will be two groups (A and B) with five teams in each.
  • The countries that are in Group A will face those in Group B in round-trip matches.
  • There will be a total of 10 games played by each team in this first part.
  • The first two places in each group will qualify directly for the 2026 World Cup. That is, there would already be four places confirmed.
  • The squads that are last will be automatically eliminated.

SECOND PHASE: FOURSQUARE

  • The four qualified countries will play home and away matches against each other so as not to lose the rhythm of the competition and have activity.
  • The third and fourth places in each group will form a final home run. The third in Group A will face the fourth in Group B and vice versa, also in round trip.
  • The two winners of these brackets will go to the 2026 World Cup.
  • Finally , the two losers will clash with each other to compete for the playoff ticket that will later face a team from another confederation.

FIFA POSITION

Gonzalo Belloso, FIFA's strategic adviser to CONMEBOL, reported that the format of the South American Qualifiers for the World Cup of Mexico, the United States and Canada will cease to be the traditional all against all and will be discontinued immediately.

On the other hand, already in the 2017, Gianni Infantino assured that Conmebol will have 6 and a half places for the 2026 World Cup.

“From the 2026 World Cup we are going to have 48 teams. So Conmebol is not going to have four and a half slots like it has until now, but six and a half slots, why? Because it deserves it”, said the boss of the entity at the Conmebol Congress in Chile.