THE joke doing the rounds yesterday when Fifa expanded the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams was that it was a good day to have shares in Panini stickers. But for all the spin-offs for the published collectable sector, there must have been something rather unedifying for those Scotland legends who made themselves household names the world over by reaching a select 16-team finals in 1974 and 1978 when they surveyed the new state of affairs in the four-yearly global showpiece of world football. By the time the 2026 competition comes round, the number of teams granted entry into the finals will have tripled. And still Scotland, sitting 67th in the Fifa rankings on current form, seem unlikely to make the cut.

It wasn't broken, so hardly needed fixing. And Fifa, judging by the generous expense accounts of the executive committee, aren't broke either, even if the £1bn in extra revenue which this 48-team showpiece seems likely to generate will certainly be appreciated by the member associations who unanimously voted this new plan into existence in Zurich yesterday. While there was perhaps a predictable outpouring of grief in these days of social media about how this change represented nothing less than the death of football, the question is how much of the magic of the World Cup will be watered down by Fifa President Gianni Infantino's expansion plans.

At least, unlike their sprawling counterparts in rugby and cricket - the 2015 version of both lasted no fewer than 44 days - everything will be concluded within 32 days. And as much of a sloppy compromise as the opening 16 groups of three appear, going straight to knockout from the last 32 onwards does at least contain some novelty factor and jeopardy for the biggest footballing nations out there.

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Craig Brown certainly isn't one of the doom-mongers. Speaking as he prepared to board a flight to Dubai for Aberdeen's winter break, the former Scotland manager said he felt there is more than enough quality in world football to accommodate an extra 16 teams. And bigger is usually better when it comes to these tournaments.

For all the praise lavished in the direction of the Republic of Ireland and others for reaching the last 16 at Euro 2016, he issues a reminder that - as Andy Roxburgh's assistant in 1992 - Scotland made it to the continent's top eight sides. Denmark, famously climbed off the beach to replace Serbia that year, and ended up with the trophy.

"One or two people have said that the quality will decrease but I don't really subscribe to that theory," Brown told Herald Sport. "There are always a lot of good quality teams who don't get there. Perhaps the perfect example is when Denmark didn't qualify for the European Championships in 1992 and they went on to win it. It is always better to have more countries involved."

Neither does Brown buy into the theory that the viewing public will become jaded. Scotland, after all, have gone 19 years without reaching the final stage, and the public still buy into it. With USA, Canada and Mexico being mooted as potential hosts - or perhaps a combination of all three - it should be quite a tournament to attend. The qualification implications have yet to be confirmed, but it could mean as little as three of the additional places going to European teams.

"I can't envisage the tournament becoming too long," Brown said. "Because It is a long time obviously since Scotland have been to the tournament but we are always immersed in it over here, we are always very interested observers. So for me I think the more teams the better . We won't know until we try it and I don't think there is anything wrong with trying it. It will certainly be a spectacle and there will be interest from around the world.

"The European Championships has gone from eight through to 24," he added. "And I don't think there was any complaints really about it. Andy Roxburgh and myself get a wee bit irked when we hear how brilliant the Republic of Ireland were for getting to the last 16 considering that when we were with Scotland in 1992 we had to get to the last eight just to get there. There are 54 countries in Europe. If we manage to get to the final stage, whatever format it is, we will accept that with open arms."