The World Cup will be expanding to 48 teams in 2026. While this change will mostly be for the benefit of confederations that feature fewer giants (like CONCACAF, Asia, and Africa), powers like Argentina will still likely never again find their place in the final stage under threat. That in itself isn’t totally a bad thing, but losing out on the only real qualifying competition will still be a shame. After all, one of the chief reasons why South American countries are so great at soccer and so dangerous in World Cups specifically is that they are forced to survive the most ruthless gauntlet in international soccer for the right to even attempt to win some glory on the biggest stage. Nothing prepares you to fight for your life in a World Cup the way fighting for your life to get to the World Cup does.