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SPORTS | 05-10-2023 15:24

Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay get automatic places for 2030 World Cup

Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay will all be given automatic qualifying spots for the 2030 World Cup for hosting the three opening games of the tournament, FIFA confirmed on Thursday.

World football's governing body announced on Wednesday that Morocco, Portugal and Spain will jointly host the 2030 showpiece but the opening games will be played in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to celebrate the tournament's centenary.

In its original announcement, FIFA only confirmed that Morocco, Portugal and Spain would automatically qualify, but on Thursday it confirmed that the three South American nations would also be spared qualifying.

It means that in a tournament that will have already expanded from 32 teams to 48 teams for the 2026 finals, "three of the six places" attributed to the South American zone in 2030 will be taken, a FIFA spokesman said.

A South American team will also have the chance to qualify in a playoff with a team from another continent.

The guaranteed berth for 2030 is especially good news for Paraguay which has failed to qualify for the last three World Cups.

Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay were originally candidates alongside Chile to host the tournament but eventually stood aside in return for the right to host the first three matches and celebrations for the centenary of the World Cup, which was first played in Uruguay's capital Montevideo in 1930.

 

-- TIMES/AFP

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