The new format will feature groups of three instead of four, with the top two from each group advancing to a 32 team knockout round, according to Sports Illustrated. The total number of matches will increase from 64 to 80, but will remain within the same 32-day period.
“The new format will create a congested and less competitive World Cup,” Abi Genser ’18 said. According to Sports Illustrated, the number of teams from UEFA (Europe), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia), CONMEBOL (South America), CONCACAF (North America) and Oceania is predicted to increase to 16, 9, 8.5, 6, 6.5 and 1 respectively. The count was previously at 13, 5, 4.5, 4.5, 3.5 and .5 respectively. The host country automatically qualifies for the World Cup.
The positive benefits outweigh increased congestion, according to Manchester United F.C. manager Jose Mourinho."The expansion means that the World Cup will be even more of an incredible social event,” Mourinho told FIFA’s website. “More countries, more investment in different countries in infrastructure, in youth football.”
"Football fever in a country that qualifies is the biggest promotional tool for football that you can have,” Infantino said. The expansion would also mean an extra $1 billion to FIFA every four years at the World Cup.