FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers: When will it begin?

Qatar did a brilliant job hosting the 2022 Football World Cup with all grace, and now it will pass on the baton to the United States, Mexico, and Canada, who’ll host the next World Cup in 2026. 

Argentina lifting the 2022 trophy for the third time while Messi won it first was a treat to the Argentine and Messi fans after a sensational final against France. They defeated the latter 4-2 in a penalty shootout.

FIFA World Cup 2026: When will the qualifiers begin?

For now, the world will have its focus on club football until 2026, when the FIFA World Cup returns in full glory with 48 nations taking part. 

With Mexico, Canada, and the United States already there in the next World Cup, other North American Nations will have easier access to the World Cup 2026 spot. However, the final dates for the qualifiers are yet to be unveiled. 

South Americans will have a difficult road to the World Cup, as there will be six competitors for one position. The qualifiers are set to kickstart on 23rd March, but the schedule is yet to be finalized. If Messi and Neymar return to the tournament, it will be something the fans will be excited to witness.

No fixtures finalized yet?

UEFA, the European Football Association, hasn’t finalized dates yet for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. But with the European Championship coming in 2024, the FIFA World Cup qualifiers are expected to start in 2025. This time, 16 European teams will head to the tournament, with an announcement that came up on January 25th, 2023. 

This time eight Asian countries will compete for a place in the tournament, and India might make its second appearance since 1950. The matches will start on 12th October 2023 for the lowest-ranked teams and will wrap up by November 2025. 

The African Football Confederation is yet to reveal the qualifier dates, but nine African Nations will have the chance to compete in the tournament and one extra intercontinental playoff. 

The Oceania Zone of the OFC will get half a ticket to the World Cup, but by 2026, the Confederation will get a direct quota and one for reclassification. They haven’t released a schedule for the qualifiers yet.

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