Best Formats for 48 Teams for 2026

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by Guinho, Dec 1, 2022.

  1. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    Is that in a format of 8 groups x 6 teams?

    Scheduling I had not given much thought to, so your point could make 8 groups x 6 teams (3 x MDs) much more feasible.
     
  2. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    No, the cluster approach is only meant for a 12 group à 4 teams world cup.
    So ABC are the first 3 groups and JKL are the last three groups with L being the 12th letter of the alphabet.

    So if we have 12 x 4 and a wild card stage, this requires to form clusters.

    It is by schedule not possible to wait the ending of all groups and then allocate wildly which teams face in a wild card stage. Teams of the 1st groups (AB and so on) would have 3 more rest days than those of the later groups (...KL). That was why I formed 4 clusters of 3 groups.

    Still only winners and runners-up approach to the knock out phase, but by clustering, the matches of the wild card stage are predefined to have always teams which had the same "rhythm" and match day. It also avoids, that teams of the same group face each other again before the final - like with the 32team WC.
     
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  3. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    t
    to be precise. this is nonsense.
     
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  4. BlackStarMamba

    BlackStarMamba New Member

    Black Stars
    Ghana
    Jul 27, 2022
    Not if you look at it this way . The 2nd and 3rd place game to advance is another group stage game

    Team A, B, C.

    Team A wins 2 games - 1st place. Reward for handling business in 2 games

    Team B beats Team C - 3 points - 2nd place
    Team C lost both - 0 points 3rd place

    3rd group stage game between B+C.
    Team C wins = 3 pts

    So Team C and B won 1 out of 3 games and have 3 points. If you want it be fair could make it the head to head and not just points. Since both team on 3 points. Look at the goal difference in the head to head match up.
     
  5. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    #55 Gibraldo, Dec 4, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
    I hope you don't mind me reposting my post from the United 2026, a sample world cup for 12x4 with a wild card stage for 16 teams and a bye for the best 8 group winners.

    I did a mock draw now for the TripleGroupWildCard48 Format.

    upload_2022-12-4_22-33-33.png

    Some interresting groups here

    Potential group outcomes:
    (in brackets = position in the Wild Card Ranking of a Cluster, only group finishers on position 1 and 2 have a chance to advance)
    (bold = automatic bye to round-of-16)

    A - 1st Sweden (4), 2nd Canada (6)
    B - 1st France (1), 2nd Nigeria (5)
    C - 1st Italy (2), 2nd Netherlands (3)

    D - Senegal (3), USA (5)
    E - Belgium (1), Chile (6)
    F - Spain (2), Egypt (4)

    G - Mexico (4), Uruguay (5)
    H - Argentina (1), Morocco (2)
    I - Colombia (3), Portugal (6)

    J - Japan (2), Ivory Coast (6)
    K - England (3), Germany (4)
    I - Brazil (1), Croatia (5)

    Wild Card Stage:
    Group winners are marked with a *
    Generally the worst group winner plays (6).
    However, Sweden cannot play Canada again so they play the second weakest runner-up (5), this is Nigeria.
    Take note, the remaining worst group winner's wild card match is always the match #1.
    Bold teams are mock winners.

    WC-ABC1: *Sweden v Nigeria
    WC-ABC2: Netherlands v Canada

    WC-DEF1: *Senegal v Chile
    WC-DEF2: Egypt v USA

    WC-GHI1: *Mexico v Portugal
    WC-GHI2: Morocco v Uruguay

    WC-JKL1: *England v Ivory Coast
    WC-JKL2: Germany v Croatia

    Round of 16:
    The best group winner avoids a clash with the potentially worst group winner.
    So if the worst group winner advances from the Wild Card Stage, they always face the 2nd best group winner of a cluster. This is guaranteed by pairing the best group winner with the winner of the cluster Wild card match #2.
    Bold teams are mock winners.

    #1 - ABC best group winner - DEF WC #2: France v USA
    #2 - ABC 2nd best group winner - DEF WC #1: Italy v Chile

    #3 - DEF 2nd best group winner - ABC WC #1: Spain v Nigeria
    #4 - DEF best group winner - ABC WC #2: Belgium v Netherlands

    #5 - GHI 2nd best group winner - JKL WC #1: Colombia v England
    #6 - GHI best group winner - JKL WC #2: Argentina v Germany

    #7 - JKL best group winner - GHI WC #2: Brazil v Morocco
    #8 - JKL 2nd best group winner - GHI WC #1: Japan v Portugal


    Quarter Final:
    Q1 = #1 v #5: France v England
    Q2 = #2 v #6: Italy v Argentina

    Q3 = #3 v #7: Spain v Brazil
    Q4 = #4 v #8: Netherlands v Portugal

    Semi Final:

    Q1 v Q2: England v Argentina
    Q3 v Q4: Brazil v Portugal

    ... now chose yourself, who might win it.
     
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  6. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I like it. Looks like the fairest way to me.
     
  7. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Dusselheim FC 1971
    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    When I say represent well I mean it will help them out and make it more competitive than people think. Not that it will help them advance. Just that it will make them look way better than expectations.

    And if they know all they can do is play for draws due to some sort of shootout rules I guarantee you that it will make things tighter.
     
  8. Mr Globe

    Mr Globe Member

    Dec 21, 2015
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Let's be honest, 32 teams is the perfect size for a WC & 48 makes no sense. The expansion is about making more money and the age-old tradition of FIFA giving extra places to AFC, CAF & CONCACAF in exchange for future votes.

    That being said, the best format I can think of that avoids 3-team groups and 3rd place teams advancing is 4 groups of 12 with the top 2 advancing and the top 8 group winners getting a bye to the round of 16.

    Not a great format but I think the best available given the silly number of teams.
     
  9. Mr Globe

    Mr Globe Member

    Dec 21, 2015
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Sorry, make that 12 groups of 4.
     
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  10. vancity eagle

    vancity eagle Member+

    Apr 6, 2006
    No I don't like the idea of giving group winners a bye.

    Why do you need to rig the tournament to advantage the bigger teams even more than is already done ?

    They win the group, they play the theoretical "weaker team" that's enough advantage.

    Giving them extra rest, losing less players to injury or cards, no its just plain stupid IMO.

    Im Fine with best 3rd place teams advancing.
     
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  11. Mr Globe

    Mr Globe Member

    Dec 21, 2015
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Sounds like someone has a chip on their shoulder about the "bigger" teams.

    So you think it's stupid to reward a team for doing well in the group round and you're ok with making it possible to advance with a loss and 2 draws, like Uruguay in 1986?
     
  12. Ivan Soldo

    Ivan Soldo New Member

    Liverpool FC
    Croatia
    Apr 14, 2021
    What do you think about this format with 48 teams?

    Round 1: 24 matches. All 48 teams play this round.
    After that 24 winners go to path A, and 24 losing teams go to path B.

    path A: 24 teams are divided in 6 groups of 4.

    path B: 24 teams play a knockout round. 12 remaining teams are divided in 4 groups of 3.

    Last 16: 6 winners and 6 runners up from path A are joined with 4 group winners from path B and they play knockout round.

    And then we have quarterfinals, semis and a final.

    This way every team would play 8 games to to be a champion and teams would stay longer in WC. It would only add one week to current 32 format but every 48 teams format leads to increase to duration of WC. And ofcourse groups would be predetermined, like group A consists of winners of matches 1 to 4, B 5 to 8 etc. In path B losers play match 1 vs. match 2, match 3 vs 4 etc. And in group 1 in path B we would have winners of match 1vs2, 3vs4 and 5vs6 etc. And in path A you have 3 group matches while in path B you have one knockout round and 2 group matches and you get to last 16.
     
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  13. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    The point with the yellow cards is a valid argument. However it can be easily defined, that those yellows do not count (exept red cards and suspensions following 2 yellow cards)

    Injuries can also happen in training. no arguement for mie.

    Btw. Europe League winners also have a bye round after the group stage and I did not hear any complaints on that by players, managers, clubs.

    And if it is always the "bigger teams" winning the groups ...
     
  14. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    I had a deep dive into my format proposal (Triple Group Wild Card 48) to validate the feasibility. I came across some flaws, that resulted in minor adaptions:

    upload_2022-12-9_8-26-44.png

    Above you see the tournament brackets.

    ABC, DEF and so on stand for the cluster.
    W.1, W.2 are the top 2 group winners of that cluster.
    W.3 the worst group winner.
    R.1, R.2, R.3 are the 3 runners-up ordered by their position in the ranking with the exeption described, that R.3 and R.2 are shuffled, when W.3 is coming from the same group as R.3 (so that they do not encounter again already at the wild card match after the just had a group match).

    On primary question with this new format is: When are teams from one group can meet again?

    In fact, I had to adapt sightly, so that every quadrant has indeed potentially 3 winners included.
    And moreover, these should always be two top ranked group winners (W.1 and W.2) and 1 worst group winner (W.3)

    However, it may suprise you, that 1 quadrant that defines a semi final do not come from only 2 clusters, but but always three.

    Here is the explanation: Imagine the bottom path of the top left holding not GHI like in the pic but pairing in this quadrant is only DEF with ABC. That would result in an "earlier" rematch of teams of one group of DEF already in the Quarter Final. As an exmaple DEF W.3 and DEF R.1 might both come from Group E, so if both wild card match winners in the top left quadrant also win their round-of-16 match, they would meet again already in the quarter final.

    But it is the goal, to avoid re-encounters as much as possible. And this is achieved by pairing 3 clusters in a quadrant. DEF R.1 & R.2, GHI W.3 & R.3 as well as ABC W.1 & W.2 can never we paired to hold a re-encounter of the group stage.

    The same applies to the other quadrants respectively.

    All in all, this piece of tournament design art prevents re-encounters in quarter finals.
    However, a re-encounter in the semi finals is possible which is a difference to the current 32-format. I do not see a chance to avoid this.

    Please also notice, that this tournament brackets are now designed supporting another rule, that guarantees the top group winner of a cluster not to face another group winner in the round-of-16. So in case that all worst group winners survive the wild card stage, they will always be paired with the 2nd best group winner of a cluster, giving the best group winner a slight - but deserved - advantage. It would be unlogical, if the best group winner would have to encounter another group winner at the round-of-16 while the 2nd best group winner has an easier parth with having an encounter with a runner-up.

    You see, everything was well thought and precisely designed. But the question remains...is it feasible to design a proper schedule for this:

    upload_2022-12-9_8-26-6.png

    As you remember, we want to avoid both, too long and too short rest days for single teams in the calendar. These are not complementary but contractional goals. If you widen the schedule on a longer span of calendar days, this benefits not having to short pauses for a team, but harm the goal of having not too long spans of rest. Same goes for crashing the schedule in the opposite way.

    So let us check the longest and shorest breaks for single teams here:

    longest break: With the introduction of a wild card stage, that gives single teams a bye, these teams are prone to have the longest interrupts.

    In fact all 7 out of 8 direct advancers have this longest break of 6 days between the last group match and the round-of-16. For comparison, the originally proposed FIFA format with 16x3 groups would have regularly had included interrupts of 7 days for the teams that have a pause in the group stage (considering a 4 day cycle for all 16 groups). The 8th bypasser has only 4 rest days btw.

    shortest break: the most challeging schedule - as with earlier world cups - will lay ahead of the teams from the last starting cluster (JKL). Wild Card contenters of these groups that will make a deep run into the quarter final will have only 2 rest days four times in a row (matches on Jun 17, 20, 23, 26).

    At this world cup, Australia and Argentina face a similar 2 day break between their final group match and their round-of-16 match.

    However, strechting the schedule is still an option, if longer interrupts for other teams are also acceptable.

    My design should only demonstrate that a schedule is feasible without going beyond that what is even common for a 32-team world cup.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    please ignore the attached files at the end.
     
  16. MRschizoid21

    MRschizoid21 Member

    Nov 5, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That is not true.
    The whole thing can fit into the normal time frame of just over a month.
     
  17. Ivan Soldo

    Ivan Soldo New Member

    Liverpool FC
    Croatia
    Apr 14, 2021
    I know this is the best option. 100 matches total.
    Pros: It could be played in 36 days with 4 matches a day in round 1 and groups.
    Round 1 could go to extra time and penalties. 36 teams would play at least 4 matches. Total number to win WC is 8 games just as with 12 groups of 4. 6 groups of 4 in path A could give as some really good matches and tough groups. There would be a lot more drama.
    Cons: Some teams would choose to lose their first game to go to path B but they don't know who will they end up with in that path and that path gives 4 places in last 16 while path A gives 12 places.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. JLSA

    JLSA Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    Hi All.

    Just back from the World Cup - and surely the 16 groups of 3 thing is dead in the water - FIFA can't ignore the excitement that groups of 4 with their final match day permutations can bring. Having been in the stadium for Aus v Denmark and also trying to keep up with France v Tunisia was mind bendingly nerve-wracking. And then the two set of matches on Japan's final day (spent in an airport lounge with an international collection of fans including Moroccans, Spaniards, Germans and Japanese as we watched the qualifiers ebb and flow and ebb and flow) were amazing.

    It even seems that FIFA are looking at 12 groups of 4 now - in a format that would give 104 games (apparently including 8 third place teams). This article https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...der-ditching-three-team-group-format-for-2026 notes the "informal discussions" (12 x 6 + 16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 104)

    I think adding in 8 third place teams is too much, and 8 group winners getting byes is better. (which is a 96 game system, 12 x 6 + 8 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1).

    However, I would suggest a slightly different methodology to Gibraldo .

    As with that set-up, the teams would be "supergrouped" into 4 groups of 3 teams. Each of these three groups would conclude on the same day (so 3 sets of double-headers rather than 2). As with that set-up, the worst group winner of the three would be selected - the other two getting a bye. The worst group winner would be called "Winner 0" and the Other group winners would be "Winner +1" and "Winner -1" if they were the next or previous group (in a cyclical sense). Ie if Group C were the worst, C would be 0, A would be +1 and B would be -1. (If the worst were B, A would be -1, C would be +1).

    The second (and third) stages would be set as below.

    Round 2 (Round of 24?): Winner 0 v Runner-up +1 (T1) and Runner-up -1 vs Runner-up 0 (T2)
    Round 3 (Round of 16): Winner -1 vs Winner T1 and Winner +1 vs Winner T2.

    So, if Group F was the worst winner out of Groups D,E and F then we would see
    R2- W Group F v RU Group D -> plays winner Group E
    RU Group E v RU v F -> plays winner group D.

    All these teams finished on the same day so playing their Round of 24 matches on the same day is fair, but there might be some juggling of the Round of 16 matches as there is at present.

    The Round 3 winners are now very much like the winners of A1vB2 and B1vA2 (etc) and so then one would go the left hand side of the draw for the QFs and the other to the right side ust they do as how. So, teams from the same group can't ever meet until the fnal under this system; which I view as a big plus. The draw is also "almost" as symmetric as it is now.

    This has two other advantages (and similarities to the current system) over many of the systems explained elsewhere - plus one definite and one possible problem (plus the whole "teams playing 8 games will cause the earth to break from its axis and dive headlong into the sun" thing)

    First, there isn't any real chance for collusion above what might exist now. There is no "seeding" apart from the worst group winner in the supergroup - which I am going to assume everybody will try to avoid (at least, no one will try and get themselves into this spot rather than getting a bye). So if you know Group A will have the worst group wiinner early (eg the group finishes first with the winner on 5 groups and Group B and C winners already have six points) it doesn't make any difference the order that B and C finish - the draw is already effectively set. There is no seeding of the three runners-up either, they just fall in line with the rules driven by which group winner did worst and hence there is no incentive to finish ahead or behind teams in other groups - just worry about yourself and finishing in the top two. Indeed, there is less incentive to "settle" for 2nd when finishing first is likely to be a big advantage. Similarly, because finishing better might give you a bye, there is less incentive to rest players in the third match (and might limit some issues such as FRA v DEN from 2018). This wouldn't always happen however - teams might be pretty sure that 7 points will be enough etc.

    Second, as with the current system, there are only two ways your team can progress in the tournament once you have been drawn in a group, with the minor difference that you might skip the second round. You also are guaranteed to know your path at the end of your third matchday (again, very marginally different to now as you might not know until after all the groups played on that day rather than just your group, but that's not a big change). This all helps with logistical arragenements for teams (they can start scoping out possible travel arrangements in advance) and fans (you always know your entire possible path even before other groups have finished, not always the case when 3rd place teams are included).

    The definite issue is the possible "perceived" unfairness of the supergroups. It is always possible that the winners of Groups A,B and C could all finish on 9 points, with one not getting a bye based on goal difference or something else, but the Winners of Group D, E and F could all finish of 5 points, and two would still get byes. That is an issue. While at present 3rd-placed teams can miss out on the round of 16 even if they get more points than groups runners-up (and even group winners), there is no "comparison" across groups of any form; this system does compare across trios of groups and hence could be perceived as being unfair.

    The other possible problem is the fact teams get a bye. Clearly teams that rested players in their third group match in Qatar had an advantage in the round of 16. However, at least these "byes" and those in the current set-up have been earned (unlike in the 16 group system where they are the teams not playing the third group match) so I would argue this is not too much of a risk (and certainly better than the 16 groups of 3).

    J
     
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  19. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    great enhancement and i am really thinking it through now.

    I understand your setup.

    Let me point out, that also with my proposal, I had in mind that all last matches of a supergroup are played simultaneously.

    The teams of a supergroups - as you call them - are more or less playing each other on two paths of the eight paths.

    Of course this is a valid approach. My proposal has the slight advantage, that the weakest group winner is guaranteed to play the worst runner-up. If I understood it correctly, with your proposal, it might be possible, that the weakest group winner might face even the strongest runner-up - while the two worse runner-up play in a "wild card match of light", if you like to call it that way.

    Moreover, the best group winner has the advantage in my format to avoid facing another group winner already in the round-of-16. This is one aspect, that I like, because i think the best group winner of such a super group shall profit from their group stage achievment. It feels unbalanced to me, if - by luck - the 2nd best group winner plays a runner-up, while the best and the worst group winner will have to play a winner-vs-winner round-of-16-match.

    Comming to the 2 negative aspects you mentioned:

    1) supergroups
    I don't see any problem with this. If you have a schedule as with the 32-team format where A1 playes B2 and B1 plays A1, it is also clustering, forming a kind of "supergroup" with the draw.
    What I would do with the United 2026 challenge is to avoid that USA, Canada, Mexico and the upcoming champ are in the same supergroup. I don't think you can have the wild card format (round-of-24) without such supergroups as the schedule will not be handable if the allocation is so random, that for example a group winner of A will have to play a runner of of L, while the teams in A started 4-5 days ahead of the teams of L

    2) 8 matches for each team
    I think that can become a point of criticism, once all group winners will win the round-of-16 matches. Then people will complain about the stress. Some strange idea forms in my head now:

    Could the wild card matches be cut to be played only 1 half?

    It will be like a sprint race in F1. Only 45 min for finding a winner and then penalties if there is a draw. At least, I would omit having extratime within the wild card round.

    3) Mixing of supergroups
    To be honest, I was never a big fan of the A1vB2, B1vA2 approach. IThat makes the tournament very predictible, but the better matches arise, if it is not so forseeable which team you play in the knock outs. So even for the 32-team cup I had always favored more shuffling, like: A1vB2, B1vD2, C1vA2, D1vC2 and so on.

    So I pretty much like, that with my proposal any team might face 75% of all contenders already in the round of 16.

    But finally, you have a discussworthy point in the view of many others that 2 teams might not encounter again before the final. In my eyes an earliest re-encounter in the semi finals.

    I will think through your proposal once more and come up with a visual design.
     
  20. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Dusselheim FC 1971
    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    Sorry but anything that takes the average fan designs and PowerPoint presentations in order to understand is simply not the best format.

    You want to grow the game in the USA not make the novice even more confused than they actually are. :ROFLMAO:
     
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  21. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    I don't get your point. Every concept needs to be explained to a heterogenous audience consting of adepts and novices.

    The 24-team format with the allocation for 3rd placed teams to group winners from 1986-1994 wasn't that comprehensive either, yet no one complained that is impossible to understand.

    JLSA made a great post. It helped me to improved my proposal. I will show it later today here. And yes....it became much simplier to understand now.
     
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  22. MRschizoid21

    MRschizoid21 Member

    Nov 5, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FIFA fixed that later by giving 3 points for a win.

    Had they had 3 points for a win in that tournament, Uruguay would have been sent home with their 2 points and Hungary would have advanced with their win on 3 points, instead of the 2 points given for their win at the time.




    Club competitions can do byes and all that because they have a whole season to shift matches around. The World Cup is a tournament that is supposed to be wrapped up over the course of approximately 1 month. It's not supposed to last the whole summer.
     
  23. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    So here is the adaption:

    JSLA, I have adapted your rule (I guess) and it sound pretty simple now.

    W.1 is the best group winner, W.2 and W.3 the second best winner and the worst winner.
    R.1 is not the best runner-up but the runner-up from the group of W.1. Same goes with R.2 and R.3
    So, R.2 and R.3 are always the runners-up of the triple group, that are not from W.1's group.

    As explained, W.3 is the worst group winner.
    This worst group winner plays the remaining runner-up R.1 and that can only be the runner-up from W.1's group in a wild card match.
    The winner of that wild card match encounters the second best winner of a triple group W.2
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Gibraldo

    Gibraldo Member

    radnicki nis
    Serbia
    Nov 17, 2005
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    so here is the final version.

    the format now guarantees, that 2 teams of the same first round group will not re-encounter before the final.

    the allocation from all teams to the brackets are much easier to understand now as it is now similiar to JSLA's proposed mode of A1vB2 and B1vA2.

    2 simple rules to determine that wild card (or round of 24) matches.
    • Triple Group Path #1 --> best group winner of a triple group (or supergroup) plays in the round-of-16
      • against the winner of the wild card stage match between the 2 runners-up from the other 2 groups.
    • Triple Group Path #2 --> 2nd best group winner of a triple group plays in the round-of-16
      • against the winner of the wild card stage match between the worst group winner and the runner-up from the group of the best group winner.
     

    Attached Files:

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  25. faiyez

    faiyez Member

    Feb 16, 2010
    Costa Rica
    Club:
    LD Alajuelense
    Nat'l Team:
    Japan
    #75 faiyez, Dec 16, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2022
    Except "bigger teams" aren't guaranteed to win their group. Any team who is seeded top of their group still need to win their group.

    So it's a pointless complaint.

    I really like this idea of giving the best 8 group winners a bye. As it stands, anyone playing their last match with a "bigger" team potentially enjoys an unfair advantage, as seen in this WC with Tunisia, Korea, Cameroon.

    I think FIFA should give serious consideration to this suggested format.

    Frankly, any format that doesn't qualify 3rd placed teams is already a massive. improvement.
     
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