Expanding the World Cup to 40 teams is a stupid idea

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It's the international break, cue groans from all across England and wishes for it to be over as soon as possible. Who wants to watch England play San Marino when we could be looking at the likes of Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez in the Premier League?

But when the World Cup comes around, England fans don’t mind seeing Wayne Rooney and co come up against the greatest nations on the planet, provided they can get past those pesky Algerians.

So, with talk of FIFA expanding the World Cup to have 40 nations rather than the current 32, why wouldn’t you want a week longer to enjoy back-to-back football?


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The standard would drop

In Brazil in 2014, there were three teams ranked outside the top 50 that made it to the final 32. Although FIFA rankings can often be ridiculed, if the number of international teams goes from 32-40, the standard of the tournament will invariably drop.

The World Cup should be the pinnacle of football, if teams like North Korea can consistently get into the group stages, then its reputation as the greatest stage and tournament on earth will be lost.

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Too much football

The rugby World Cup was a terrific spectacle this year. However, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it did drag on for quite a while didn't it?

Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing, and increasing the number of nations to 40 will increase the length of the World Cup by at least a week. 96 matches over approximately 40 days sounds a bit like too much football, we'd still try and watch every game possible, though.

England's woes

If by 2026 England still don't have a world class squad - no pressure Ross Barkley - a 40-team World Cup may mean the Three Lions could be on their way home with other nations still having nearly a month of football to play, not ideal for the country that created the sport.

England v France - International Friendly

Players fatigue

By the time some players get to the final, some of them would have played seven games in a very short period of time. Once again, the standard would be lower if more teams were introduced.
Records will be broken.

This may sound like a positive, but it takes away the incredible efficiency in the achievements of Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose and, by 2026, Thomas Muller. More games will give players more time and chances, it wouldn't be a level playing field.


With the Euros increasing the tournament to 24 teams for 2016 and the potential financial viability of increasing the number of teams in the World Cup to 40, Fifa were always going to look into it.

Despite the potential of smaller nations having a better opportunity to make their debut in the biggest stage, is the potential loss in reputation and lowering of standard worth the risk?

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England Football
World Cup
Wayne Rooney

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