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World Cup: FIFA considering introducing group stage penalty shootouts in 2026

FIFA are considering introducing penalty shootouts in the GROUP STAGE of the 2026 World Cup – to award bonus factors if a match ends in a draw on the 48-team match in the USA, Canada and Mexico

FIFA are considering introducing penalty shoot-outs to the World Cup group levels, with profitable groups probably incomes bonus factors on the finish of tied video games on the 2026 match. 

The Athletic has reported that the choice to implement shootouts – both earlier than kick-off or at full-time – in tied group stage matches in 2026 is being mentioned. 

In 4 years time the World Cup will likely be held throughout the north American continent, with matches set to happen in every of USA, Canada and Mexico in a trilateral match.

As a end result there will likely be an additional knockout spherical following the teams, with the highest two sides set to qualify from the 16 three-team teams – a system adopted following a unanimous FIFA vote. 

Staging the shootouts after video games does nevertheless give rise to potential collusion between the international locations concerned – one thing FIFA would understandably be wanting to keep away from. 

A scenario may come up in which a selected end result advantages either side in question, and thereby eliminating the third workforce in the group. 

FIFA are considering introducing penalty shootouts to the group levels of the 2026 World Cup

Since 1986 the ultimate spherical of fixtures in every group has been performed on the similar time in order to stop such a circumstance from arising.  

So far in Qatar the group stage has seen 9 attracts – with 5 of them goalless – which has left a number of teams coming right down to the wire in order to determine who progresses. 

And FIFA’s chief officer for technical improvement Marco van Basten has lengthy been a proponent for the introduction of shootouts to assist determine tight teams at tournaments. 

Denmark's 0-0 draw with Tunisia on November 22 was the first of five such results so far

Denmark’s 0-0 draw with Tunisia on November 22 was the primary of 5 such outcomes thus far

‘Shootouts may certainly be an choice for tournaments with teams of three in which you play in opposition to two opponents,’ he advised German outlet Sport Bild.

‘It can get fairly tight. If one workforce as an illustration attracts one match 0-0 and wins the opposite 1-0, there’s a excessive threat that every one three groups are stage on factors and targets in the tip.’

The 2026 match would be the largest in the competitions lengthy historical past because it was first performed in 1930, when Uruguay received the primary of their two titles. 

However, though a unanimous vote has already handed on the subject of three groups, the standard four-team group format has reportedly not been totally written off. 

With 48 groups set to qualify, it’s mathematically attainable to have 12 teams of 4 with the highest two sides progressing in addition to the eight greatest third-placed groups. 

Ottmar Hitzfeld believes a three-team system would increase the 'tension' of final games

Ottmar Hitzfeld believes a three-team system would improve the ‘stress’ of ultimate video games

It is assumed that the present format decreases the danger of two groups taking part in out a sport that merely advantages the each of them, reminiscent of 1982’s “Disgrace of Gijon”.

West Germany beat Austria 1-0 – a end result that despatched either side by way of to the subsequent spherical on the expense of Algeria, who had overwhelmed Chile earlier the identical day – with the 2 sides controversially taking part in out the remainder of the sport largely uncontested. 

However Champions League-winning coach with Bayern Munich Ottmar Hitzfeld believes that the ultimate sport of the group levels is already a ‘boring’ affair, and a change to the three-team system would improve pleasure. 

‘The third match in the group stage in the World Cup is commonly boring because the large nations are normally already by way of,’ he claimed. 

‘With this format, stress can be assured from the start and we’d swiftly transfer to the knockout stage.’

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