FIFA have confirmed that the World Cup will be expanded from its current 32-team format to a 48-team edition in 2026.
Since 1998, the prestigious tournament has been played out between eight groups of four teams. This will now be replaced by 16 groups of three teams, meaning should Ireland qualify they will only face two opponents in the group stage.
The FIFA Council unanimously decided on a 48-team #WorldCup as of 2026:
16 groups of 3 teams. Details to follow after the meeting.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
The hosts for the 2026 edition are yet to be confirmed but Mexico, Canada and the USA are already said to be interested in bidding.
The current World Cup holders are Germany, who won the 2014 tournament in Brazil, while the next edition takes place in Russia in 2018, followed by Qatar in 2022.
What do you make of the changes? Will the tournament be too bloated or are you happy to see smaller countries being provided with a greater chance to qualify?
Let us know in the comments.