In a FIFA World Cup every feeling is maximized and if usually the fact of playing with the support of the home fans gives extra strength and motivation, doing it in the context of this tournament enhances it. Thus, there have been occasions in which the host country is carried by its players and fans all the way to the championship.
Since its birth in 1930, 21 editions of this tournament have been held in 92 years of history. And although the opportunity to democratize the winner has been ample, very few countries have had the capacity, talent and support to be crowned champions. That is why it is no small feat for a host country to do so.
The 22nd FIFA World Cup in the history of the sport already offers several novelties, such as the fact that it will be held for the first time in the Middle East, and also that it has to be scheduled at the end of the year instead of the traditional dates of May and June. Could this wave of novelties also bring a new champion, such as the host country of Qatar 2022?
The host countries of the FIFA World Cup
FIFA flew the flag of inclusion when it decided to consider a bid from the Middle East to host the 22nd edition of the World Cup. In 92 years of history, there have not been 21 different host countries. In fact, it has been a common practice that some countries have already served as organizers of this tournament on a couple of occasions.
Considering Qatar 2022, there will be 17 different countries that have hosted a FIFA World Cup. From the first edition in 1930 to Spain 1982, all host countries were unedited. However, in the last 40 years of the tournament's history, 5 countries have hosted it for the second time.
Thus, in chronological order of repetition, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany and Brazil are the privileged ones to have been able to host the FIFA World Cup twice. Those countries that have had this honor only once were Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Korea-Japan, South Africa and Russia. Qatar 2022 will also represent the first time that country has hosted the tournament.
Hosts who have been crowned FIFA World Cup champions
To lift a FIFA World Cup requires good performances one after the other. At the beginning and during the first three editions that were held, it was necessary to give 4 or 5 good consecutive matches; subsequently, the quota rose to 6 quality performances to be able to lift the cup, until reaching the current figure of obtaining 7 good results in a row to be champion.
Thus, with this difficulty of being able to link 7 good results in a row to be champion of this tournament, in Qatar 2022 it will be decided whether the list of host countries that have achieved such a feat will be increased or maintained as such. In total, there are 6 hosts that have managed to become world champions, a feat that has not happened since France 1998.
Uruguay - 1930
The Garra Charrúa is a historic figure in world soccer due to the feats it has achieved. One of them is to have been the first country in the history of the sport to be a host country of the FIFA World Cup and the first champion of the tournament. It defeated Argentina 4-2 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.
Italy - 1934
A trend that could not become a tradition because it was broken four years later, but Italy repeated Uruguay's achievement and won the FIFA World Cup in front of their own fans. L' Azzurra overcame Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Rome to begin their golden history in this tournament.
England - 1966
Although their success at National Team level has been really scarce, England can count that their effectiveness in the FIFA World Cup as a home team is only matched by Uruguay and Argentina. The only time the Three Lions have won the World Cup was when they also served as host countries for the event, in 1966. They beat Germany to do so.
Germany - 1974
Despite the Netherlands fielding the most talented generation in its history, led by the legendary Johan Cruyff, Germany managed to outdo them to win the 1974 FIFA World Cup on home soil. A feat they were unable to repeat in 2006, when they finished third.
Argentina - 1978
As happened in the first two editions of the FIFA World Cup, with Uruguay 1930 and Italy 1934, after Germany's coronation in 1974, Argentina did the same in 1978 in the first and only, so far, World Cup of which it has been host country. And just as it happened with the Mannschaft, the Albiceleste did it at the expense of the Netherlands.
France - 1998
Unlike the rest of the host countries that have been crowned FIFA World Cup champions, France had to wait to organize this tournament for the second time in its history to become the champion. It did so in spectacular fashion, defeating Brazil 3-0 in the final in Saint-Denis.
The performance of the rest of the FIFA World Cup host countries
If only 6 of the 10 host countries of the FIFA World Cup have been crowned: how have the remaining 11 fared? Some of them have managed to scrape glory, but for others the support and warmth of their people has been of little use and they have simply not been able to transcend.
Thus, there have been very peculiar cases such as South Africa, whose participation was merely anecdotal, and some like Sweden or Chile that had their best participation in the World Cups when they were host countries.
France - 1938
France was the third nation to host a FIFA World Cup in 1938. Having participated since the first edition, and played the first match in the history of the tournament against Mexico, Les Bleus were looking forward to the competition, but were unfortunate to meet eventual champions Italy in the Quarter Finals, who eliminated them.
Brazil - 1950 / 2014
The most winningest country in the history of the FIFA World Cup also bears the curse of never having been able to become champions in front of their own fans. In fact, the two most painful episodes in their soccer history were in 1950 and 2014, when Uruguay beat them in the final and Germany eliminated them in the Semifinals. The latter result, with a scandalous drubbing whose pain would also be prolonged when they lost the match for third place to the Netherlands.
Switzerland - 1954
After a tough first round in which they had to compete with Italy and England, the Swiss team managed to advance to the Quarter Finals where they were unable to maintain their winning momentum as they lost 7-5 to Austria in the highest scoring match in World Cup history.
Sweden - 1958
Never in its history at the FIFA World Cups had Sweden looked as powerful as it did in 1958 when it advanced out of the group stage with authority, and eliminated Russia and Germany in the subsequent rounds. Unfortunately, they met Pele and Garrincha's Brazil in the Final and were thrashed to settle for the runner-up spot.
Chile - 1962
Chile's history in the World Cups had its happiest chapter when they were host country in 1962. Despite having faced powerful teams such as Switzerland, Italy and Russia, they managed to come out on top to reach a decent third place, a result they have never been able to match again.
Mexico - 1970 / 1986
Mexico is currently living with the curse of not being able to advance from the Round of 16 for the last 7 editions of the FIFA World Cup. In fact, the only time it has been able to go further was when it was host country, as it managed to reach the Quarter Finals. In the Quarter Finals, Italy and Germany were their respective defeats in 1970 and 1986.
Spain - 1982
La Furia Roja owed its fans a debt of gratitude in the World Cup in which it served as host country. After a mediocre first round of groups, they advanced to the second stage of the same nature, only to be eliminated there after being unable to face Germany and England.
Italy - 1990
In the second World Cup it hosted, the Azzurri were unable to repeat the feat they achieved in 1934, although everything looked set to happen, as they had not conceded a single goal before the Semi-Final match against Argentina. With the Albiceleste, led by Diego Maradona, they not only conceded their first goal, but also ended up being eliminated on penalties. In the end, he would take third place after defeating England.
USA - 1994
It was a real acid test to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States, a country with a proven sporting tradition, but for other sports. Even so, the response from the fans was very positive, despite the fact that their National Team failed to advance past the Round of 16, where they were eliminated by Brazil, the future champions of the tournament.
Korea/Japan - 2002
For the first time in the history of this tournament, it was held in Asia, and also for the first time, two host countries were organizing it. A contrast was the performance of the two host countries, for while South Korea achieved a fantastic fourth place, Japan only managed to be eliminated in the Round of 16.
Germany - 2006
Expectations were high for Germany. Not surprisingly, since in 1974, the previous time they had hosted the FIFA World Cup, they had won the tournament. Everything was going well, until Italy, the eventual champions, eliminated them in the Semifinals, although they at least managed to take third place by beating Portugal.
South Africa - 2010
The FIFA World Cup was organized for the first time in its history in Africa until its 2010 edition. The party was total thanks to the warmth of the South Africans. However, their national team was unable to repay the joy of their fans and ended up signing the worst participation of a host country by being eliminated in the group stage.
Russia - 2018
If there was a moment full of excitement at the FIFA World Cup 2018, it was Russia's thrilling Round of 16 triumph on penalties at the Luzhniki Stadium over Spain, who looked like overwhelming favorites. That was the zenith of Stanislav Cherchesov's team, as in the Quarter Finals, Croatia, the eventual runners-up, eliminated them after another thrilling penalty shootout.