Thursday 25 January 2024, 22:00

FIFA President tells Concacaf countries to “start to dream” after FIFA World Cup 26™ qualifying draw

  • Gianni Infantino says FIFA World Cup 26™ will be “biggest and most inclusive ever”

  • Up to eight Concacaf nations could feature at final tournament, including three co-hosts

  • Tournament has increased from 32 to 48 teams for first time

Gianni Infantino has told Concacaf nations they can “start to dream” of playing at the “biggest and most inclusive” FIFA World Cup™ ever after the Preliminary Draw Concacaf for the 2026 tournament was made at FIFA headquarters in Zürich, Switzerland. The FIFA World Cup 26 will be the first to be co-hosted by three countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States, and the Concacaf trio are guaranteed places when the action kicks off in north America in two years’ time. However, in line with FIFA’s strategic objective to give countries and clubs more opportunities to participate on the global stage over the next four years, the unprecedented expansion of the FIFA World Cup 26 to 48 teams means there are a further three automatic qualifying places available to Concacaf nations. Two more countries could also line up alongside their regional neighbours if they come through the FIFA Play-Off Tournament, potentially giving Concacaf up to eight qualifiers, twice as many places as were available to them for the FIFA World Cup 2022™.

“The FIFA World Cup in 2026 will be the biggest and most inclusive ever, with 48 teams from all over the world coming to North America,” said the FIFA President via a video message played during the draw, which saw Concacaf nations placed in six groups of five teams. “On the pitch, there will be more teams from the region competing for the biggest prize in football than ever before, giving more countries the chance to play at a FIFA World Cup. In total, the Concacaf region could have up to eight teams at this tournament for the very first time.” “So there’s all to play for. And all this means that each nation in this draw can start to dream of playing at the tournament in 2026, as you find out your first steps towards earning a ticket to the biggest and best FIFA World Cup yet.”

A brace of two-legged Round One play-offs will be held in March between the four lowest-ranked teams in the FIFA/Coca-Cola ranking as of 21 December last year to determine the two nations who progress to the second-round group stage. Round Two will then get underway in June 2024 with countries playing each team in their group once. After four matches each – two at home, two away – the top two nations in each group will advance to the final round during which the three automatic qualifiers and two play-off contenders will be decided.

Concacaf Preliminary Draw (Round Two) – FIFA World Cup 26™ results:

HondurasCosta RicaHaitiPanamaJamaicaEl Salvador
Antigua & BarbudaTrinidad & TobagoCuraçaoNicaraguaGuatemalaSuriname
CubaSt. Kitts & NevisSt. LuciaGuyanaDominican RepublicPuerto Rico
BermudaGrenadaBarbadosMontserratDominicaSt Vincent & The Grenadines
Cayman IslandsBahamasArubaBelizeWinner Play-Off 2 (British Virgin Islands or US Virgin Islands)Winner Play-Off 1 (Turks & Caicos Islands or Anguilla)

FIFA World Cup 2026™