Another option: A tournament in November 2025 among the 8 countries to decide the two countries that advance to the knockout round of 32. November 2025: mini World Cup tournament among the 8 countries June/July 2026: main World Cup with 40 countries (10 groups of 4 with double elimination format) The 2 winners of the 8 countries + the 30 winners of the 40 countries = 32 knockout round So when June 2026 comes the focus of the WORLD CUP would be among these 40 countries...to see which ones can make it out of their group through double elimination format (aka one win to advance, lost both games go home) Each game will be very exciting and meaningful. Advantages: no match fixing. No imbalance schedule. Every game is meaningful (there are a few World Cup Group Stage games that were meaningless regarding who win / lose since they have already been eliminated). The meat of the tournament will be in the knockout round of 32. But the double elimination group stage (10 groups of 4) is also very exciting. That hypothetical mini playoff tournament will replace this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2026_FIFA_World_Cup Playoff tournament A playoff tournament involving six teams will be held to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths, consisting of one team per confederation (except for UEFA) and one additional team from the confederation of the host countries (i.e. CONCACAF). Two of the teams will be seeded based on the FIFA World Rankings, and the seeded teams will play for a FIFA World Cup berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the four unseeded teams. The tournament is to be played in one or more of the host countries and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup. The existing playoff window of November 2025 has been suggested as a tentative date for the 2026 edition.