FIFA announced on Thursday that Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay would each get an automatic qualifying berth for the World Cup in the year 2030 since these three countries will be hosting the first three games of the tournament.
The governing body of world football made the announcement on Wednesday that Morocco, Portugal, and Spain would share hosting duties for the showcase in the year 2030. However, the opening games of the tournament will be held in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay to commemorate the event’s 100th anniversary.
FIFA only announced that Morocco, Portugal, and Spain would automatically qualify in its first decision; but, on Thursday, it acknowledged that the three South American countries would also be spared qualifying for the tournament.
According to a FIFA spokeswoman, this implies that “three of the six places” allotted to the South American zone in 2030 will be used up by the time the tournament has already expanded from 32 teams to 48 teams for the finals in 2026. The tournament will have already grown from 32 teams to 48 teams for the finals in 2026.
A team from South America will also have the opportunity to qualify for the tournament by competing in a playoff against a team from another continent.
The automatic qualification for the World Cup in 2030 is particularly welcome news for Paraguay, which has not participated in any of the previous three World Cups.
Initially, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, in addition to Chile, were contenders to host the tournament; however, they ultimately decided to step aside in exchange for the privilege to host the first three matches and festivities commemorating the 100th anniversary of the World Cup, which was first contested in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo in 1930. Chile ultimately won the bid to host the tournament.