6 alternative World Cup formats which are so ridiculous they might just work
Fifa has unanimously voted for the World Cup to expand from 32 teams to 48 from 2026, with three-team groups. But we think there are some wackier formats for the sport’s governing body to try.
Here are some of our suggestions for how Fifa can jazz up the World Cup.
A 48-team super league
Our first suggestion is based on the league system we all know and love, but why stop at 20 teams?
The 48-team super league will require each country to play 94 games over three months, that’s a game a day, with the champions presumably too exhausted to lift the weighty trophy by the end of it all.
But hey: World Cup fever, right?
48 groups of one
What happens after Group Z? That’s for the suits and bigwigs to figure out, we’re just the ideas people.
Each team will be drawn into a group by themselves, and will take to the pitch with no opponents. The 32 teams who put the ball into the empty net the most will be drawn into eight groups of four, at which point we can all get on with the tournament as it was.
A bit pointless, maybe. But what a preliminary group stage that would be.
Social media world tour
The World Tour is about so much more than the football. Each team will travel the world, taking turns to visit one another’s country in a bid to lift the Fifa World Cup trophy.
Teams will take to social media, Instagrammming and live-tweeting their time in each country, awarded points based on likes, retweets and shares which will determine if they should make it through to the next round.
Alright, so it’s a bit light on the beautiful game itself, but who’s tuning into the World Cup for the football these days anyway?
The original World Cup
So, here’s the plan. To honour the original World Cup which was hosted by Uruguay in 1930, 48 teams enter the tournament, but only 13 can be bothered to travel all that way to South America.
Those teams that do decide to travel do so on a boat as slow as the ones teams had to journey on in 1930, spending weeks on a cruise ship before reaching Uruguay.
It’s pretty illogical, but it gets rid of a potentially lengthy group stage and makes sure that only those who can be bothered to win, win.
Fifa’s new three-team group stage will reduce the number of games played from six to three, but why stop there?
Let’s get this group stage over with in one game, employing the three-team game that has been experimented with. Three teams take to a hexagonal pitch with three goals, and whoever concedes the fewest goals wins.
It’s a game of… three thirds?
EA Sports Fifa tournament
Football’s going this way, isn’t it? Let’s just move it onto the biggest stage now and be done with it.
Six minutes per half, each team sends one representative and the tournament is moved every four years from PlayStation to Xbox to PC. Nobody wants a Nintendo Wii World Cup, do they?
Ever seen a country rage quit in the semi-finals of the World Cup before?