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18th Oct 2023

First team eliminated from 2026 World Cup

Callum Boyle

2026 World Cup

There’s still over 900 days to go until the tournament starts

It may feel like the 2022 World Cup only just happened but the road to the 2026 one has already started for some nations, and sadly ended for one.

The 2026 edition of the tournament will be held in Canada, Mexico and the USA and will feature 48 nations instead of the usual 32 for the first time as part of the new format.

While it’s still three years away, the process of qualifying still needs to take place. Although most continents are yet to start their campaign, Asia has already kicked off the qualifying stage with a two-legged game, typically contested between the smaller nations.

Afghanistan and Mongolia locked horns, while Nepal met Laos and finally Guam – a US territory with a population of just 18,000 – came up against Singapore.

Ranked 201st in the FIFA world rankings, Guam had the unfortunate situation of becoming the first nation to have no chance of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup after losing 3-1 on aggregate.

Singapore took a 2-1 lead going into the second leg however Guam were unable to beat their fellow island nation as Singapore claimed a 1-0 win to advance to the next stage.

Guam weren’t favourites by any means. Previous results saw them lose 7-0 to China, 3-0 to Syria and 3-0 to the Philippines in the qualifiers for the Qatar World Cup.

Their biggest win was back in 2015, a 1-0 victory against Turkmenistan.

Jason Cunliffe, 39, is the country’s record goalscorer and captain. Cunliffe has been capped over 50 times for Guam and scored their only goal in the two-legged affair, his 26th for the minnow nation.

They must now dust themselves off and go again for the 2030 World Cup.

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