Football enthusiasts all around the world are in for a treat as FIFA has approved a new format for the 2026 World Cup.
With 104 games to be played, 48 teams are set to compete in the biggest sporting event on the planet.
The new format will see the teams divided into 12 groups of 4 teams, where each team will play three games. This is different from previous formats, where 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four teams.
One of the most significant changes is the increase in the number of maximum games the winning team plays. In previous World Cup tournaments, the two finalists played a maximum of seven games, but in the 2026 World Cup, the two teams in the final would have played eight games.
This change is expected to make the tournament even more competitive and challenging for the players.
To ensure that the best teams make it to the next round, the top two teams in each group will advance. Additionally, the eight best third-placed teams will also move forward.
This change is a departure from the previous format, where only the top two teams in a group progressed to the knockout stage.
The new format and the Super Eagles
The new format has been met with mixed reactions from football fans worldwide.
Some feel that the expansion of teams and increase in games will dilute the quality of the tournament, while others believe that it will make the World Cup more inclusive and give more teams a chance to showcase their talents on the global stage.
Whichever way it goes, Nigeria will aim to be a part of what promises to be the biggest football festival ever organised on Earth.
The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the last edition in Qatar after falling at the last hurdle to West African neighbours Ghana.
The three-time African champions made their first appearance at the World Cup in 1994 and have missed only two editions since, reaching the Round of 16 in 1994, 1998, and 2014.
The 2026 World Cup will be jointly hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada, with the final set for the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The event is expected to generate a massive economic boost for the host countries and bring people together worldwide to celebrate the beautiful game.