For the first time in the history of the World Cup, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be FIFA’s first experiment on an expanded 48-team FIFA Men’s World Cup to be co-hosted by the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
While the 2022 World Cup came with a series of surprises, the big teams who were deemed as favorites before the kick-off of the tournament did not fail.
Argentina, who emerged as the new World Champions, were tipped as tournament favorites from the start of the tournament despite suffering a shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia. France, who finished as runners-up, were also seen as tournament favorites.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will not be different. As usual, springs of surprises will be expected, but the big teams will take their rightful place in the tournament.
Futballnews looks at the top 10 teams to watch out for in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Despite failing in their bid to defend the 2018 trophy and win France’s third World Cup trophy in 2022, France is a top team to watch out for in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The team is blessed with a young pool of talents that will certainly make the 2026 France World Cup squad. The likes of Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Konate, Kolo Muani, and Kylian Mbappe will still be relevant in the French squad.
Brazil crashed out of the 2022 World Cup in the quarterfinals, losing on penalties to Croatia. When Neymar was asked whether he would retire after crashing out of the World Cup, the PSG star said it is not over. Neymar is expected to continue in the squad along with other youngsters. Vinicius jr, Richarlison, Guimaraes, and Danilo will give Brazil the depth of quality needed to take on any opponent.
England crashed out of the 2022 World Cup in the quarterfinal, losing 2-1 to France. Gareth Southgate has done a great job with the Three Lions. With his contract set to expire in 2024 Euros, it is still unclear whether he will renew his contract. However, the quality in England squad is a sure bet against 2026.
While Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, and Harry Maguire may likely hang boots before the tournament, the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Declan Rice, and James Maddison will continue to deliver for the team. Hence, the Three Lions will be a team to watch out for.
Portugal is another promising team to watch out for in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The team crashed out of the 2022 World Cup, losing to Morocco. Nevertheless, their 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16 is a beacon of the qualities and potential of the side.
While Cristiano Ronaldo may exit the team before the tournament, the likes of Goncalo Ramos of Benfica and Joao Cancelo of Manchester City will be at the zenith of their career.
Spain shockingly crashed out in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup after losing on penalties to Morocco. Notwithstanding, the European giants cannot be written off ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are expected to retire by then, but Barcelona duo Pedri and Gavi are enough to give a spark to the team and intimidate any opponent come 2026.
Germany have struggled recently in World Cup after winning the tournament in 2014. They crashed out in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup. However, four years is enough for the team to regroup before the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Jamal Musiala, Luis Sane, and Serge Gnabry are great players that will make the squad intimidating against opponents.
This is one of the top European teams blessed with young talents. Despite losing in the quarterfinals to Argentina on penalty shootouts, the Dutch national team is a team to watch out for. Memphis Depay may bow out of the scene before the 2026 World Cup, but youngsters like Gody Gakpo and Frenkie De Jong are players to watch out for.
The 2022 World Cup Champions will still be strong in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Notably, the football magician and legend Lionel Messi has reversed his plan to retire. Hence, Argentina cannot be written off. They also have a pooled of talents that will still remain in the squad. Enzo Fernandez, Marc Allister, De Paul, and Julian Alvarez are big players that will bring the team to par with any other opponent.
The USA crashed out in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup, losing 3-1 to the Netherlands. Against England in the group stages, the team went shoulder-to-shoulder with Gareth Southgate’s boys. They have a lot of quality, with the likes of Mckennie, Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, and Pulisic on the team.
They will be expected to go far in the 2026 FIFA World Cup by galvanizing on the home advantage in addition to the depth of quality in the team.
The Atlas Lions shocked the world in the 2022 World Cup, becoming the first African country to reach the semifinals eliminating Portugal and Spain in the tournament.
Under coach Regragui, the team is still expected to be a force to reckon with in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. While Boufal and Hakim Ziyech may age out of the tournament, the rest are a pool of young players that will gather enough experience to take on any opponent.