The decision taken on Wednesday, May 23rd, by FIFA to abandon plans to have 48 countries competing in the global showcase in three years' time was a setback for Infantino, who has headed FIFA since 2016.
The Swiss had pushed the plan hard, arguing that it would expand football's reach across the globe, AFP has reported.
"Of course, it is not easy. But we have already taken the decision to play with 48 teams in 2026. So why not try it before then?" Infantino was fond of saying.
In the end, despite his dangling of the carrot of increased revenues with an enlarged tournament, his plan was defeated by the hard realities of global politics.
The economic boycott of Qatar since 2017 by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies, who accuse Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist movements, left FIFA in an impossible position, without countries to share the burden of the increased number of matches.