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Why is the 2030 World Cup going to be played on three continents? How many matches will there be?

Three continents will host the 2030 World Cup - here’s everything we know about how and why the decision was made.

2026 puede ser un Mundial histórico para la Concacaf
FIFA/Handout via REUTERS

Gianni Infantino’s FIFA have announced that a total of 6 teams are set to put on the 2030 edition of the FIFA World Cup, with Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay all taking part as host nations.

Questions of whether they will have to qualify, why those countries have been picked, which other countries are involved have been taking up the headlines on the latest updates of the World Cup revelation since the decision was revealed.

Hosting a World Cup in a single country is a task the size of a small-to-medium-sized planet, but across six nations... the locations manager must surely be in need of a strong drink this evening. So, then, why are three continents hosting the tournament? A great question.

Why are Spain, Portugal and Morocco hosting in Europe and Africa?

The three countries lodged a joint bid to become hosts of the showpiece tournament in a move that the various federations believed would up their chances of being selected, especially given that the 2026 edition of the tournament will be held in the US, Canada and Mexico. It worked well: the three countries were the sole bidders and have been granted the competition. Despite being on two continents, the distance from Spain to Morocco is around 14.5km, meaning that travel should not post the same difficulties as, say, going from Mexico City to Montreal.

However, it is not without a slight catch. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will also be ‘host nations’ and they will be the locations for the opening three games of the tournament, in honour of the first ever World Cupthat was played. When 2030 comes around, it will have been 100 years since the first edition of the tournament took place in Uruguay, with the host nation winning the event. Argentina were runners-up and Paraguay is the official home of CONMEBOL, the governing body of football in South America, which is why these three South American countries have been selected as hosts for the tournament.

We have no information on when/where the final is going to be, but the Santiago Bernabéu will surely be one of the main candidates.
Full screen
We have no information on when/where the final is going to be, but the Santiago Bernabéu will surely be one of the main candidates.REALMADRID.COMDiarioAS

How many matches will there be?

Some fantastically fast maths tells you that given there are a total of 48 teams (6 hosts + 42), we will see a whopping 104 games played at the tournament, the same as the 2026 edition in the US, Canada and Mexico. That number shoots up from the 64 we saw in Qatar 2022, when having just one host nation was controversial enough.