FIFA made what had previously been floated official on Tuesday by voting to expand the World Cup field from 32 to 48 teams beginning with the 2026 tournament.
In doing so, it just might have ruined the greatest spectacle in sports.
Whispers of an expansion to the World Cup field have been making their way through the soccer universe for months. The primary knee-jerk reactions to a bigger field boil down primarily to two fears. First, that the tournament’s quality will be diluted by including less accomplished teams. Second, that its format will be rendered obtuse and awkward if grown beyond the convenient current format of 32 nations.