1950 World Cup

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FIFA votes to expand World Cup to 48 teams from 2026

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Get ready for an even bigger celebration of soccer.

[ MORE: FIFA “The Best” awards

On Tuesday the FIFA council voted unanimously in favor of a 48-team World Cup from 2026 onwards as president Gianni Infantino got his wish.

The proposal is something which was a key part of his mandate when the Italian official won the FIFA presidential election in February 2016 as he aims to give smaller nations across the soccer world a chance to compete on the biggest stage.

Now, Infantino has his wish.

More details are emerging all the time from the FIFA council meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, but it has been confirmed that there will be 16 groups with consist of three teams each and the top two teams from each group will go through to a straight Round of 32 knockout.

That means there will be an increase from 64 to 80 games, which is an extra 16 games, and crucially there will still be just seven games for each team to play if they go all the way and become world champs. The tournament itself

The main difference is that Infantino and the council wanted to create more knockout games at the tournament and that’s now been confirmed with just two group games per team, and an extra round of straight-knockout games now rubber-stamped.

Off the back of UEFA expanding the European Championships to 24 teams for the first time at EURO 2016, there’s been plenty of opposition to this plan from FIFA as many say the quality of the tournament will suffer. That said, many nations around the world from smaller confederations will now see this as a great opportunity to reach the World Cup for the first time and it will freshen things up. There will be an extra four teams from both Africa and Asia, while an extra three teams from Europe will also make the tournament.

In truth, the more teams and games there are in the World Cup the more money FIFA will make.

Infantino’s argument is that the World Cup has expanded from 12 teams to 16 in 1966 and then to 24 teas in 1982 and then to the current 32-team format in 1998. With the popularity of the game continuing to grow across the globe, he believes now is the right time to expand the tournament.

The United States of America is the favorite to host the 2026 World Cup, the first with 48 teams, with Canada and Mexico both mooted as potential co-hosts with the U.S. if they don’t host it alone.

VIDEO: On Fourth of July, enjoy another great win over England

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We all know what the biggest victory in U.S. history of England was.

July 4, 1776, of course. Happy Independence Day everyone.

That victory on July 4 only just usurps another famous U.S. victory over England (kidding… kind of) for the greatest of all time.

I’m of course talking about the USA’s 1-0 win over England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil thanks to Joe Gaetjens’ glancing header.

On this day full of nostalgia and celebration around everything great about America, watch the video above to see the victory which is still described as one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history as a team full of amateurs from the U.S. beat the superstars of England.

Also, in the videos below you can take a further trip down memory lane and watch Americans kick English butts… again. You can also watch a brief video looking back on the game via FIFA’s official YouTube channel here.

Happy Fourth, folks.


Some more rough match highlights

Who was Joe Gaetjens?

Top 20 World Cup moments: US shocks England in 1950 — No. 10

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As we continue our countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil here at PST, each day from now until the tournament begins we will look back at a memorable moment from years gone by. 

Here is number 10. 

PST’s Top 20 World Cup moments – No. 10: United States shock England in 1950

It was the day a hearse-driving goalkeeper put England’s World Cup hopes in the ground.

They weren’t supposed to be there in so many different ways. There was the aforementioned hearse driver (Frank Borghi) and a high school teacher (Walter Bahr). There was a player who couldn’t get off of work to play. Heck, some of the players representing the United States that day in Brazil weren’t even formally American.

But this ragtag bunch of part-time players, a group their coach called “sheep ready to be slaughtered”, beat the World Cup debutant English 1-0 on a goal from a Haitian immigrant named Joe Gaetjens. His skimmed header of a Bahr shot gave the US a first-half lead it would not relinquish by the time the Italian referee whistled a final time.

RELATED: Countdown, World Cup Top 20 moments

Borghi was phenomenal in holding England at bay. Part of his eventual reward? Gerard Butler would play him in a movie directed by the man who filmed “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.”

And despite the US’ 1W-oD-2L finish in the group, the tournament is arguably more celebrated that the Yanks’ third-place finish in the 1936 World Cup.