Online Soccer Betting Changes for World Cup
Posted by: Charlie Smith
Longtime online soccer betting fans know just how difficult it is to qualify for the World Cup, let alone win one. More often than not, we see the same well-known teams that represent either a European country, or a South American one. It’s very hard for smaller, lesser known countries to break through the qualifying rounds, and even harder to see one make a deep sportsbook push in the World Cup. This is no secret and it’s well recognized around the world, so much so, that the sport’s governing body decided to change the format of the World Cup.
Last month, FIFA decided to vote on whether or not to change the current format, and the vote ended up passing. Granted, these changes will not be implemented until the 2026 World Cup, but they are still a huge step in making the tournament much more inclusive.
Those who bet on soccer will now witness 48 teams competing for glory on the biggest stage, instead of the current 32. Additionally, in 2026, countries will begin to compete in 16 groups of three, instead of 8 groups of four, which is the current format. Afterwards, the group stage will be followed by 5 knockout stages.
The new changes mean that countries which generally don’t qualify for the online soccer betting have a much better opportunity of making the cut. African countries have been historically underrepresented in the World Cup, and with the new format set to take place in less than a decade, Africans are getting ready to seize the opportunity.
Nevertheless, FIFA has yet to make a formal announcement on how the federation will determine who gets the extra slots. But considering that Africa and Asia have the two largest voting blocs in FIFA, sportsbook fans shouldn’t be surprised if the two continents get a large slice of the pie.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will likely vie to at least double the current number of guaranteed spots the continent has. For the CAF, nothing would be better than to be able to guarantee 10 spots for African countries in the 2026 World Cup.
“All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup,” Chief of South Africa’s Football Association (FA) Danny Jordaan told online soccer betting reporters after the continent’s FA bosses met with FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino. “There is hope that Africa can have 10 places in future.”
Seeing the number of slots Africa has in the World Cup would mark a defining moment for the continent. It’s no sportsbook that Africa has been largely underrepresented in the World Cup. In fact, since 0978, Europe has held more than twice as many guaranteed slots as Africa has, despite the obvious difference in land mass.
FIFA now has an opportunity to close in on that gap and produce a more diverse, balanced World Cup tournament. Ultimately, this decision could cause ripples that have a great, beneficial impact on African countries as a whole.