How Concacaf teams can qualify for 2024 Copa America and 2026 World Cup
The 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League will provide the qualification route for Concacaf’s six teams in the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America.
Concacaf has announced that its Council has approved the formats for its senior men’s national team competitions taking place between 2023 and 2026.
Regarding the announcement, Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani said:
“These revamped formats and competitions will provide a tremendous platform for our men’s national teams as they prepare to compete on the regional and global stage. With multiple editions of the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup on the horizon, as well as an exciting opportunity to compete with South American teams in an official competition, Concacaf Member Associations have a fantastic opportunity to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2026, which takes place in our region and will be the biggest World Cup in history.”
The 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League (CNL) will provide the qualification route for Concacaf’s six competing teams in the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America. The 2024-25 CNL will subsequently qualify teams for the 2025 Gold Cup.
2024 CONMEBOL Copa America qualification
In January 2023, CONMEBOL and Concacaf announced that the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America would take place in the United States and that there would be six Concacaf national teams as guests.
The six Concacaf teams that will participate in the competition will be determined through the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League, as follows:
Four League A quarterfinal winners: These home-and-away matches will be played in November 2023 between the four top-ranked League A teams and group winners and runners-up (four teams total) in the new, expanded League A Groups.
Two winners of a Concacaf Copa America play-in: These single elimination matches will be played in the following year, in March 2024, and will see the four League A losing quarterfinalists face off.
Concacaf qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026
The three FIFA World Cup 2026 hosts, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, will automatically qualify for the competition in just over three years’ time.
FIFA has confirmed that Concacaf has been allocated a further three direct qualification berths and two FIFA Intercontinental Playoff berths. Concacaf can therefore have up to eight participating federations at the 2026 men’s FIFA World Cup.
The Concacaf qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup will not include Canada, Mexico, and the United States and will be played between Concacaf’s other 32 FIFA-affiliated member associations.
Five nations to join three hosts at World Cup
The final round of the Concacaf qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026 will be played between the second-round group winners and runners-up (12 teams in total).
The 12 national teams will then be divided into three groups of four teams. In each group, teams will play each other home and away, with each team playing a total of six matches.
The three group winners will qualify directly for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, joining hosts Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The two best second-place finishers will also qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026 intercontinental playoff.