Today FIFA decided to expand the 2026 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams. This is another decision that will undermine the footballing interest in a World Cup that all fans love, but which has steadily fallen in football quality during this century, and will surely deteriorate more with this.
In the short term the expansion may increase interest in countries that never have had a chance of qualifying. But when these countries lose again and again to other mediocre teams in mediocre matches, it will bring less and less interest among the real football fans, if not among the (many) people for whom World Cup football is nothing more than a Nationalist Masturbation Contest.
We will see more flags and hysteric nationalism, but less quality football.
At least under Sepp Blatter, for all the many things you could criticize him for, football came first. Under the new FIFA leadership it is the short term prospect of making millions to the detriment of the game. UEFA supports it; I am not surprised as they decided to expand the European Championship exactly for the same reason. But at least UEFA presides over the tournament with the best football quality in the world, namely the Champions League; UEFA knows national team football is a dying breed, so why not exploit it...?
I started loving football because of the World Cup. It was where football dreams were made. I have been seeing the World Cup deteriorate as I grow older, and for any young football fans football dreams are now made at Club level, mainly in the Champions League. I am sad to see the World Cup fade into the irrelevance of mediocre football, and I view this as one of the biggest nails in the coffin of the World Cup.
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