Zurich - FIFA's decision Tuesday to expand the World Cup to 48 teams in 2026 will allow more countries to "dream" of qualifying for the globe's top sporting event, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
"We have to shape the World Cup of the 21st Century... football is more than Europe and South America," Infantino told reporters. With the new format, "many more countries will have the chance to dream."
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The decision marks a major coup for the body's president Gianni Infantino who has made enlarging football's showcase event the centrepiece of his young administration.
The controversial proposal has faced criticism from some of the sport's most powerful voices, including warnings that it would dilute the quality of play and overburden already exhausted players.
But Infantino had in recent weeks voiced confidence that his flagship project would be approved.