It's been 26 years since the Pharaohs qualified for the FIFA World Cup. However, that may change as FIFA discusses drastically changing the tournament structure to include more teams.
Egypt’s 26-year World Cup curse may finally be broken as FIFA council members are currently mulling over four new proposals that will drastically change the format of football’s most prestigious tournament.
The first proposal suggested by FIFA President Gianni Infantino includes a 48-team World Cup that would implement a one-off round involving 32 teams, with 16 winners advancing to the round of 32, joined by another 16 teams that receive a bye. Critics of this proposal believe that this format is flawed as some team will prepare for a long tournament only to go home after the first match. At the same time, it could be problematic deciding which teams will receive a bye, which could lead to future controversies.
Talking with Ahram Online, an alleged FIFA source claims that there’s a different 48-team tournament with an entirely different format being proposed. The FIFA source tells Ahram Online that "There will be 16 groups of three teams, with a minimum of two games per team. Two teams will qualify from each group." After that, the tournament resumes as usual with 32 teams split into eight groups.
This format improves on the previous proposal as “It will make sure no one travels for only one game and that each confederation has a guaranteed number of qualified countries. It's also easier to understand for fans, TV and sponsors," claims the FIFA source.
The other two proposals being discussed propose a 40-team tournament split into eight groups or 10 groups, as well as a 48-team structure with a preliminary round. As it stands, any change of the current tournament structure will not be applied before the 2026 World Cup.