How Host Nations Have Fared in FIFA World Cup History originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Qatar, show us what you got.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is being hosted by a Middle Eastern country for the first time in the tournament’s 92-year history.
Though Qatar is not expected to make a deep run in 2022, it begets the question: How have host nations fared in World Cup history?
Throughout the 21 World Cups that have occurred since the debut event in 1930, only six host nations have won the prestigious trophy on home soil.
Let’s dive into how all hosts fared in FIFA World Cup history:
1930: Uruguay – Winner
What a way to mark the first ever World Cup. Uruguay hosted and won the 1930 World Cup on home soil after beating rivals Argentina 4-2 in the final. It is also the smallest country to have ever won the tournament.
1934: Italy – Winner
Italy maintained the good vibes after Uruguay’s triumph four years prior by winning the 1934 World Cup. It beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final.
1938: France – Eliminated in the quarterfinals
France could not extend the host-nation winning streak to three in 1938. Les Bleus lost 3-1 to defending champions Italy in the quarterfinals. Gli Azzurri would go on to win the 1938 tournament as well.
1950: Brazil – Eliminated in the final
The 1950 World Cup returned to South America after the 1942 and 1946 tournaments were canceled due to World War II. Brazil drubbed Sweden 7-1 in the quarterfinals and Spain 6-1 in the semifinals but lost in the final 2-1 to Uruguay.
1954: Switzerland – Eliminated in the quarterfinals
Switzerland’s first and only time ever hosting the World Cup ended in the first round of the knockout stage. After finishing second in Group 4, the Swiss fell to Austria 7-5 in a high-scoring affair.
1958: Sweden – Eliminated in the final
Sweden’s first and only time hosting the World Cup ended in heartbreak. It made a run all the way to the final only to lose 5-2 to Brazil. That remains its best ever finish in the tournament.
1962: Chile – Eliminated in the semifinals
Chile also has had just one go at hosting a World Cup, which was another heartbreaking finish. It went up against rivals Brazil in the semifinals but suffered a 4-2 defeat as the Brazilians went on to win the trophy. Chile, though, won the third-place playoff match 1-0 against Yugoslavia.
1966: England – Winner
In 1966, it came home. England won the tournament in its first time hosting it. The Three Lions beat West Germany 4-2 in the final behind a hat-trick from Geoff Hurst.
1970: Mexico – Eliminated in the quarterfinals
Mexico and the Soviet Union had an extremely narrow battle in Group 1, but El Tri finished in second due to goals scored in group play. That meant a quarterfinal draw against Italy, which proved too tough for Mexico. Italy eliminated Mexico after a 4-1 victory.
1974: West Germany – Winner
Twenty years after winning the 1954 tournament, West Germany won another on home soil. It came back down 1-0 against the Netherlands to win 2-1 in Munich.
1978: Argentina – Winner
Argentina continued the streak during its first time as the host nation. The Albicelestes defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in the final thanks to two extra-time goals. The Dutch lost to host countries in two consecutive years. It marked Argentina’s first ever World Cup title, though it has not hosted since. However, it’s in the race with Uruguay and Chile for a 2030 joint bid.
1982: Spain – Eliminated in the second group stage
The knockout stages operated differently in this era of tournaments. After six groups of four competed in a round-robin style format, the second group stage featured four groups of three for a trip to the semifinals. Spain finished last in Group B of the second group stage.
1986: Mexico – Eliminated in the quarterfinals
Knockout stages in 1986 were similar to what they are today and some previous tournaments prior to 1982. Mexico made it to the quarterfinals but lost 4-1 to West Germany in a penalty shootout.
1990: Italy – Eliminated in the semifinals
Italy’s second time hosting the tournament ended just outside of the finals. Italy fell to Argentina 4-3 in a penalty shootout in the semifinals, but beat England 2-1 in the third-place game.
1994: United States – Eliminated in the Round of 16
After narrowly surviving the group stage, the U.S. fell to Brazil 1-0 in the Round of 16. Brazil would go on to become champions, so the United States’ first time hosting the competition resulted in an early exit. The U.S. will be back in 2026 to co-host the competition with Mexico and Canada.
1998: France – Winner
France is the sixth and final host nation to have won the World Cup on home ground. It did so by defeating Brazil 3-0 in the final.
2002: Japan, South Korea – Eliminated in the knockout stage
Japan and South Korea had the honor of being the first ever Asian countries to host the tournament along with being the first ever joint hosts. Both squads finished first in their respective groups, but Japan lost to Turkey 1-0 in the Round of 16.
South Korea, however, made a deep run to the semifinals but finally fell to Germany in a 1-0 defeat. South Korea avenged Japan by beating Turkey 3-2 in the third-place game.
2006: Germany – Eliminated in the semifinals
In its first time hosting since West and East Germany merged, Germany made it to the semifinals before losing 2-0 to Italy. It got a consolation prize by defeating Portugal 3-1 in the third-place match.
2010: South Africa – Eliminated in the group stage
South Africa made history as the first country in Africa to host the World Cup, but it failed to make it out of that year’s “Group of Death” that included Uruguay, Mexico and France.
South Africa drew 1-1 to Mexico, lost 3-0 to Uruguay and won 2-1 against France to finish third. France stunningly placed last in Group A.
2014: Brazil – Eliminated in the semifinals
It’s the semifinal matchup numerous fans remember, but for varying reasons. Without its best player in Neymar, Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in one of the biggest lopsided games deep into the tournament in recent history. It shocked fans worldwide, and Brazil also lost 3-0 in the third-place game to the Netherlands.
After a promising start, it’s a tournament many Brazilians hope to forget.
2018: Russia – Eliminated in the quarterfinals
After upsetting Spain 4-3 in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16, Russia’s probable Cinderella-run was cut short by the real Cinderella team in Croatia.
Russia fell by the same score in a penalty shootout to Croatia in the quarterfinals, as Croatia would make a run to the final before falling to France.
Qatar, in its first ever World Cup appearance, finds itself in a tough Group A with the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador. The former two are the favorites to advance, with Qatar having very little expectations as the No. 48-ranked country in the world by FIFA going into the tournament. Let’s see if there’s a colossal upset in store.