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Uefa approves new formats for men’s national team competitions

Europe’s qualifiers for national team competitions such as the 2026 World Cup and Euro 2028 will be reduced to groups of four or five teams (up from five or six currently), UEFA announced on Wednesday, which also reformulated the League of Nations.

According to the new formula adopted by the Executive Committee of the entity, the knockout tournaments for the final stages will have fewer games, as the 50 European countries will be divided into groups more groups.

The aim of the reform, according to Uefa, is “to offer more attractive and exciting competitions within the existing dates, as well as to reinforce the resources of the national associations and guarantee a constant recovery from the impact of the pandemic”.

For this, “a more compact format results in more attractive European Qualifiers and without increasing the total number of games”.

The winners of the 12 groups will qualify directly for the World Cup and the Euro, as well as the best runners-up.

The remaining seconds of each bracket will play a repechage against teams classified through the UEFA Nations League.

With the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams in 2026, Europe will have 16 representatives, three more than those who were in Qatar in 2022. On the other hand, Euro 2028 will continue with 24 participants.

Regarding the League of Nations, created by Uefa in 2018 to replace friendlies, the format will be modified to include a quarter-final stage with home and away games, maintaining the ‘Final 4’ (semi-finals and final) with a single game in June.

These novelties will have to adapt to the reforms announced in December by Fifa, which plans to merge its September and October calendar from 2025 and organize friendly tournaments in March, the ‘FIFA World Series’, which will bring together teams from different confederations.

UEFA also decided this Wednesday that the next Super Cup will be played in August in Athens, taking the organization of this game from the Russian city of Kazan, the initially planned host, due to sanctions against Russia and Belarus for the invasion of Ukraine.

Finally, Uefa withdrew the health protocol related to covid-19, adopted from 2020, but stressed that it will continue to “closely monitor the pandemic”.

Source: Gazetaesportiva


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