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 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: World Cup expansion is approved, Ronaldo is FIFA Best Player

The FC crew voice concerns over a 48-nation format.
The FC crew voice concerns over a 48-nation format.
The FC crew voice concerns over a 48-nation format.

Here are the latest stories for Tuesday.

WORLD CUP: The FIFA Council has unanimously approved plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026 onwards, opting for a group stage format of 16 groups of three nations.

- The president of the German Football Association (DFB) has said he is "not happy" after the FIFA Council rubber-stamped plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 nations, in 2026.

FIFA: Cristiano Ronaldo said winning FIFA's Best Men's Player for 2016 "shows...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi statue in Argentina found missing its top half

Messi statue
The statue of Lionel Messi was built in response to the Barca star's brief retirement from the national team.

A statue of Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi was vandalised in Buenos Aires on Monday.

The figure, which was constructed in an attempt to help convince the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to return to the national team during his brief retirement from the Albiceleste this summer, was found missing its top half.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was asked if Lionel Messi could replicate his Barcelona sucess in the Premier League.
ESPN FC's Sid Lowe weighs in on Barcelona's claim that they'll make Messi the best-paid player as wages in China skyrocket.

However, officials in the Argentine capital said repairs have already begun.