The 2026 FIFA World Cup restructured rules have been revealed!
Because the team has been upgraded from the original 32 to 48, the European region has increased to 18 teams, and the World Football Asia region has increased from the original 4.5 to 8.5 places, a full increase of 4 seats, which is the only increase this time. To the continent with 4 places, the World Football Team will bring a larger and more diversified one. Also because of the increase in seats, the Asian Football Confederation officially announced a few days ago that it would change the promotion method for the Asian region due to the expansion of the 2026 World Cup.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers will be changed from the top 12 to the top 18
The 2026 World Cup Asian Qualifying Tournament retains the previous four rounds. The first and second rounds have not changed much. The biggest difference is the final third round of qualifying, which will increase the original 12 teams to 18 teams, 6 teams will compete in the fourth round, and the winning team will qualify for the Intercontinental World Cup play-offs. Here's a quick rundown of the competition system for you.
The first round: The bottom 22 teams in the Asian football rankings will play a home and away game, and a total of 11 winning teams will proceed to the second round.
Second round: The 11 teams that advanced from the second round will play against the top 25 teams in the Asian football rankings. The 36 teams are divided into 9 groups, each group of 4 teams will play 6 games, and the top two 18 teams from each group will compete in the third round.
In the third round: 18 groups of qualifying teams will be divided into 3 groups to compete, every 6 teams will play 10 games, and the top 2 teams in each group, a total of 6 teams, will be able to win the 2026 World Cup Asian qualification.
Fourth round: The 3rd and 4th 6 teams that were eliminated in the third round will be divided into 2 groups for a single-elimination match. The first place in each group will qualify for the World Cup Intercontinental Playoffs.
2026 World Cup seat adjustment, should Australia return to Oceania?
The Asian region of the 2022 World Cup was joined by the Australian national football team. The Asian region of the World Football League successfully won 5 seats, which is the most seats in the Asian region since the World Cup. The Asian region team in this World Cup group stage. Not only did they perform well, but the win-loss ratio against European teams was also higher than that of the African region of the World Cup. The ability of the Asian region in the World Cup is constantly improving.
Australia joined the Asian region of the World Cup to compete for 4 seats, and the chances of entering the World Cup in-game competition are higher than the 0.5 seats shared with others in the Oceania region. New Zealand in the Oceania region can naturally get a share of the pie. . However, the number of seats in the 2026 World Cup has increased, and the number of seats in Oceania has been increased to 1.5 places. With the strength of the Australian football national team, it is not difficult to win a seat in the Oceania region, and there is no need to compete with Asian teams for places. There are many rumors from the outside world that if Australia returns to the Oceania region to participate in the competition, the quotas for the Asian region and Oceania region of the World Cup will have a better chance of allowing each other's teams to enter the World Cup in-game competition.