Qualification for FIFA World Cup 26™ starts in September 2023
Paraguay v Peru is the first match on the long road to Canada, Mexico and USA
Find out more about how places at the expanded 48-nation tournament will be won and lost
It is only a couple of long goal-kicks from the Estadio Antonio Aranda, on the banks of the Parana river, to neighbouring Brazil. And it is here, in south-eastern Paraguay, where qualification for the FIFA World Cup 26™ will get underway when the hosts welcome Peru on 7 September.
Later that same evening, just 263 days after they lifted the trophy in Doha, Argentina will kick off their title defence as Ecuador make the trip to Buenos Aires.
Preliminary competitions for Africa and Asia will also get under way before the end of the year as nations battle it out for coveted spots at the global finals.