A 48 team World Cup in 2026 - How has the World Cup format changed since 1930?
- From no goal differences, to World Cups with two group stages, Kieran Buggs takes a look at the history of the World Cup's format
1930 URUGUAY – 13 TEAMS – 18 MATCHES
The 1930 FIFA World Cup hosted by Uruguay was the inaugural FIFA World Cup tournament and the only FIFA World Cup to date that did not feature a qualification campaign to reach the tournament. Every FIFA member nation was invited to the tournament, however, only 13 teams took part due to the long trip to South America that was required to compete.
The 18 matches at the tournament included 4 European teams, whilst the rest competing travelled from the Americas. The maiden format consisted of four groups, one containing four teams whilst the rest featured just three. Each team would receive two points for a win and one point for a draw with the winner of a group progressing to the Semi-Finals.