After the curtain fell on the World Cup in Qatar, Sunday, with Argentina crowning for the third time in its history, after an exciting final that was decided by penalty kicks at the expense of France, football fans are looking forward from now to the 2026 World Cup, which will be organized for the first time by 3 countries, which is expected to be a milestone in football. Football history, for many reasons.
The 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada, will witness the participation of 48 teams, for the first time, an increase from the last editions that witnessed the participation of 32 teams (starting with the 1998 World Cup in France). FIFA decided to hold the group stage by dividing the teams into 16 groups, each with 3 teams.
The next World Cup will be held in 16 stadiums, which is another unprecedented number, including 11 in the United States, 3 in Mexico, and two in Canada.
The increase in matches and teams means an almost guaranteed record in terms of public attendance, noting that the largest public attendance witnessed the 1994 tournament hosted by the United States with the participation of 24 teams, and it reached more than 3.5 million spectators in the stadium.
This number was achieved thanks to the large capacity of American stadiums, as well as the great interest in spreading sports throughout it at that time.
And while the Qatar World Cup 2022 witnessed the largest number of goals recorded in the history of the World Cup, which is 172 goals, an increase of one goal from the versions of France 1998 and Brazil 2014, it remains almost certain that that number will be broken in view of the large increase in the number of matches, knowing that the developments of other laws Adopted by “FIFA” in recent years, it led to an abundance of goals, due to the use of video assistant technology, and the adjustment of offside counts and hand touches.
On the individual level, there remain two very “potential” records that the Qatar World Cup stars, Argentine Lionel Messi and Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, can achieve.
Messi finally achieved his dream of winning the World Cup in the fifth participation, but the son of the city of Rosario pledged the day after the coronation to continue playing with the Tango team until further notice.
The continuation of Messi, 35, and his participation in the next World Cup means that he will be the first player in history to participate in 6 World Cup tournaments, which is an “extraordinary” achievement, but it does not seem impossible.
Although Messi previously mentioned that the current World Cup may be “probably” his last, the temptation of a new achievement may push the talented star to stay until the 2026 edition.
As for Mbappe, who is still in the prime of his youth (23 years), the door to records seems wide open, and the Paris Saint-Germain star scored 12 World Cup goals in the 2018 and 2022 editions, and scored 5 other goals in the next edition, which seems completely within the reach of the star. Talented, means his sole title as the historic World Cup scorer with 17 goals, noting that the current record is held by German Miroslav Klose, which is 16 goals, the last of which was scored in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.