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World Cup 2026 will take place in the USA, Canada and Mexico. It will be the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries after the joint-CONCACAF bid beat a rival proposal from Morocco.
This will be the 23nd edition of a tournament which was first held in 1930. Just 13 teams participated in that inaugural competition. In 2026 there will be 48 sides present for the first time, up from 32 in 2022.
World Cup 2026 is still a while away but odds are already available on the outcome. We have taken a closer look at those below, before digging deeper into what will be a historic tournament as the World Cup returns to the USA for the first time since 1994.
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France are the current favorites to win World Cup 2026 with the best online sportsbooks. Champions in 2018 and runners-up in 2022, the European nation continues to produce more top-class talent than virtually any other country in the world. Didier Deschamps, their long-serving manager, knows what it takes to win international tournaments.
Brazil are the second-favorites as things stand. The Selecao were disappointing in Qatar in 2022 and at the time of writing they do not have a full-time manager. However, Brazil are five-time champions and they can never be written off.
England have suffered a few near-misses in recent years. At World Cup 2018 they finished fourth, and they were then runners-up at Euro 2020 (which was held in 2021). The Three Lions will hope to finally get their hands on the World Cup trophy on foreign soil in 2026.
Argentina are the defending champions following their Lionel Messi-inspired triumph in 2022. The iconic forward will not be present in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, though, so the holders may struggle to go all the way again.
Germany and Spain are available at the same odds as Argentina. The former suffered shock group stage exits in 2018 and 2022, while the latter have not reached the quarter-finals since they won the World Cup in 2010.
Argentina were the winners of World Cup 2022. The Albiceleste lost their first match of the tournament, suffering a shock 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia. They proceeded to beat Mexico and Poland to finish top of their group, before eliminating Australia in the round of 16.
Argentina overcame the Netherlands on penalties in the quarter-finals and then beat Croatia 3-0 in the last four. A 2-2 draw after extra time in the final against France led to another shoot-out, which Lionel Scaloni’s side won 4-2.
France topped their group ahead of Australia, Tunisia, and Denmark. A 3-1 victory over Poland preceded a 2-1 defeat of England, before les Bleus booked their spot in the final with a 2-0 triumph over Morocco in the semis.
World Cup Winners
Most Recent Victory
In June 2018, the USA, Canada, and Mexico were named hosts of World Cup 2026. They received 134 votes, while the rival bid from Morocco got 65. There were three abstentions and one non-vote.
FIFA had previously banned co-hosts after World Cup 2002, which took place in Japan and South Korea. However, the expansion of the tournament to 48 teams necessitated a review of that policy.
Sixteen host cities have been chosen for World Cup 2026: two in Canada, three in Mexico, and 11 in the USA.
This is the fourth time the World Cup will be hosted in the region. Mexico staged the competition in 1970 and 1986, while the USA won the rights in 1994.
World Cup 2026 will be the first edition to feature 48 teams. Those sides will be divided into 12 groups of four, and the top two in each section will advance to the knockout stage along with the eight third-place finishers with the best records.
A round of 32 will then follow, before the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, third-place play-off and final. The total number of games will rise from 64 to 104, and the finalists will end up playing one more match than they did in the 32-team tournaments from 1998 to 2022.
FIFA has confirmed that the three co-hosts, the USA, Mexico, and Canada, will automatically qualify for World Cup 2026. There will be three additional spots available for other CONCACAF nations to fight over, with the likes of Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and Jamaica likely to be among the contenders.
Elsewhere, there are eight guaranteed places for Asia, nine for Africa, six for South America, one for Oceania, and 16 for UEFA. The final two spots will be awarded to the winners of inter-confederation play-offs.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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