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World Cup 2026 could see penalty shootouts used in GROUP STAGE as Fifa mull huge changes for USA, Canada & Mexico

FIFA chiefs are plotting another major overhaul of the World Cup by introducing PENALTY SHOOTOUTS to group matches.

Footy’s global governing body is already planning to expand the competition from 32 teams to 48 for the 2026 tournament – which will take place in the USA, Mexico and Canada.

FIFA are expanded the 2026 World Cup from 32 teams to 48
Footy chiefs are weighing up the possibility of introducing group-stage penalty shootouts
FIFA’s chief officer for technical development, Marco van Basten, is a proponent of the idea

And according to reports, they’re trying to put an end to drawn group matches with the introduction of additional shootouts.

That’s according to The Athletic, who claim FIFA are “considering” introducing shootouts to determine whether or not teams should be awarded a bonus point if matches are drawn.

The potential introduction of group-stage penalty shootouts is due to the possibility of groups being made up of three teams.

The bonus-point shootouts could take place before kick-off or following the full-time whistle.

The potential introduction of group-stage penalty shootouts isn’t a new idea by any stretch of the imagination.

It was first mooted back in 2017 and championed by FIFA’s chief officer for technical development, Marco van Basten.

The Dutchman said: “Shootouts could indeed be an option for tournaments with groups of three in which you play against two opponents.

“It can get pretty tight.


“If one team for instance draws one match 0-0 and wins the other 1-0, there’s a high risk that all three teams are level on points and goals in the end.”

Former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld is a proponent of three-team groups.

The 73-year-old said: “The third match in the group stage in the World Cup is often boring since the big nations are usually already through.

“With this format, tension would be guaranteed from the beginning and we would swiftly move to the knockout stage.”

Teams could bag a bonus point with victory in group-stage shootouts

The group stages of Qatar 2022 are coming to an end.

The Netherlands, Senegal, England, France, Brazil, Portugal and the USA have already qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament.

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