Qatar crashed out of the World Cup as hosts after two games, arguably the worst performance of any host nation in history

Qatar crashed out of the World Cup as hosts after two games, arguably the worst performance of any host nation in history
France win 1998 World Cup.
France was the last host nation to win the World Cup in 1998.Getty/Lutz Bongarts
  • Qatar is already out of 2022 World Cup.

  • It joins South Africa (2010) as the only host countries not to advance out of the group stage.

  • Here's how every previous home nation has performed on soccer's biggest stage.

Qatar is already out of the 2022 World Cup.

The host was first beaten by 2-0 by Ecuador, setting the unwanted record of becoming the first host nation of a World Cup ever to lose its opening game of the tournament.

Félix Sanchez's side then lost 3-1 to Senegal, meaning that even an unlikely win over the Netherlands in its final Group A game can't save it from becoming only the second host nation in World Cup history to go out in the group stage, after South Africa in 2010.

But while Qatar and South Africa failed to impress on home soil, others have done much, much better.

Here's how all the previous hosts of the World Cup have fared at their own tournaments.

Uruguay 1930 – WINNER

Uruguay ahead of 1930 World Cup final.
Uruguay hosted and won the first ever World Cup.Getty/AllSport

There were only 13 teams at the first ever World Cup in Uruguay, with the winners of the initial four groups (three of three teams, one of four) progressing to the semifinals.

Uruguay won its group by beating both Peru and Romania, before it beat Yugoslavia 6-1 in the semis and then Argentina 4-2 in the final.

Italy 1934 – WINNER

Reigning champion Uruguay boycotted the 1934 tournament as only four European teams had accepted their invitation to the previous Cup, which paved the way for Italy to take the crown.

Italy came back from a goal behind to beat Czechoslovakia in the final.

France 1938 – Quarterfinals

No host nation has ever played fewer matches at a World Cup than France did in 1938.

With only 16 teams and no group stage, France won its first match against Belgium but then was beaten by reigning champion and eventual winner Italy in its second.

Brazil 1950 – RUNNER-UP

The Brazilian national soccer team poses before its World Cup first round match against Mexico 24 June 1950.
Brazil lost to Uruguay in the final of the 1950 World Cup final.Getty/AFP

Brazil 1950 is the only World Cup not to have an actual final. Instead, four teams from four initial groups progressed to a final phase where a round robin format decided the winner.

The host beat Sweden 7-1 and Spain 6-1 in the first of its two final round games, meaning it only needed a draw with Uruguay to win the tournament.

It wasn't to be, however, as in front of 175,000 fans at the Maracana, it was beaten 2-1.

 

Switzerland 1954 – Quarterfinals

The 1954 tournament used a unique format, with 16 teams split into groups of four but only playing two matches each.

Switzerland beat Italy in its opening game but then lost to England, setting up a play-off against Italy for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The host beat the Azzurri, 4-1, but then was beaten 7-5 by Austria in the last eight, in what remains the highest-scoring World Cup match of all-time.

Sweden 1958 – RUNNER-UP

Sweden may have made a shock run to the final in 1958, but this tournament was all about one player in particular – Brazilian teenager Pelé.

The then-17-year-old scored six goals, including two in the final, as Brazil lifted its first ever World Cup.

 

Chile 1962 – THIRD PLACE

Chile team group.
The Chile team of 1962 definitely all went to the same barbers.Getty/PA Images

Chile's third-place finished in 1962 remains its best ever at a World Cup.

However, it was their clash — quite literally — against Italy in the first round that is best remembered.

Now known as the "Battle of Santiago" — the match was marred by violent scenes in which punches were thrown and police were called to intervene four times.

England 1966 – WINNER

England captain Bobby Moore "chaired" by his team with the Jules Rimet Cup...after receiving it from the Queen after England won the Cup final 4 goals to 2, against West Germany.
Bobby Moore lifts the Jules Rimet Cup for England.Getty

England's 4-2 win over West Germany in the final of the 1966 World Cup was not only a classic match, but it also produced the most iconic piece of commentary in soccer history.

"They think it's all over," said the BBC's Kenneth Wolstenholme's as England fans began to storm the pitch near the final whistle.

When Geoff Hurst scored England's fourth seconds later, he said: "It is now!"

En route to the final, England recorded wins over Uruguay and France in its group, before beating Argentina in the quarterfinals and then Portugal in the semis.

Mexico 1970 – Quarterfinals

Having previously won only one World Cup game across six previous tournaments, Mexico upset the odds to reach the last eight on home soil in 1970.

El Tri beat El Salvador and Belgium en route to the quarterfinals, where it eventually lost 4-1 to Italy.

West Germany 1974 – WINNER

The 1974 tournament in West Germany marked the first time the current World Cup trophy was awarded. The previous trophy, the Jules Rimet, had been awarded permanently to Brazil after the country won it for the third time four years earlier in Mexico.

1974 was also the first World Cup to have two group stages, the second of which consisted of two groups of four, wherein the winner of each progressed to the final and the second placed teams progressed to the third place play-off.

Host West Germany came from a goal behind to beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the final.

 

Argentina 1978 – WINNER

World Cup Final, Argentina Mario Kempes (10) victorious after scoring goal vs Netherlands, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Argentina's Mario Kempes celebrates after scoring in the final of the 1968 World Cup.Getty/Manny Millan

Argentina in 1978 followed the same format as the previous tournament.

The host finished second in its first group, won its second group, and then took the World Cup final over the Netherlands, winning 3-1 courtesy of a brace from Golden Boot winner Mario Kempes and a goal from winger Daniel Bertoni.

Spain 1982 – Second round

In the last ever World Cup with two group stages, host Spain squeezed out of its first group despite losing to Northern Ireland and drawing with Honduras.

In the second stage, it finished last behind West Germany and England to cap off a disappointing tournament.

 

 

Mexico 1986 – Quarterfinals

Mexico versus Germany at 1986 World Cup.
Mexico lost West Germany in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup.Getty/DPA

Mexico enjoyed a good run in 1986 as it became the first country ever to host two World Cups.

After easing through its group, featuring Paraguay, Belgium and Iraq, it beat Bulgaria in the round of 16, before losing to eventual finalists West Germany on penalties in the quarterfinals.

Sadly for Mexico, the victory over Belgium remains its last ever knockout stage win at a World Cup.

Italy 1990 – THIRD PLACE

Walter Zenga, Paolo Maldini, Fernando de Napoli, Nicola Berti, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi; (front row, l-r) Salvatore Schillaci, Roberto Baggio, Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Donadoni, Franco Baresi.
Spot Paolo Maldini.Getty/Peter Robinson

Roberto Baggio was supposed to be Italy's star attacker at the 1990 World Cup, but it was the relatively unknown Toto Schillaci who ended up stealing the show.

Having only made one appearance for Italy before being called up for the tournament, Schillaci went on to score six goals and finish as Golden Boot winner, helping his country finish third.

 

USA 1994 – Last-16

When the US hosted the 1994 World Cup, it was only the country's second appearance at the tournament since 1950.

Unfortunately for the home nation, that lack of experience showed. Bora Milutinović's men scraped through its group as a best third-place team before it was beaten by Brazil, who went on to win the tournament, in the round of 16.

France 1998 – WINNER

France lift the 1998 World Cup.
France's 1998 World Cup winning team was full of stars.Getty/Bongarts

The last host nation to win a World Cup, France's squad in 1998 was full of superstars.

Among them was Marcel Desailly, Patrick Vieira, David Trezeguet, a young Thierry Henry, and future Ballon d'Or winner Zinedine Zidane – who scored two goals in the final as Aime Jacquet's side thrashed Brazil 3-0.

South Korea/Japan 2002 – Semifinals/Last-16

The only World Cup to date to have two hosts, both South Korea and Japan did themselves proud on home soil in 2002.

Having never made it past the group stage of any previous World Cup, South Korea made it all the way to the semifinals, where it eventually lost to Germany.

Japan didn't go quite so far but went undefeated in the group stage before losing to Turkey – which would go on to beat South Korea in the third place play-off – in the round of 16.

Germany 2006 – THIRD PLACE

Germany's Miroslav Klose finished as the World Cup's top scorer in 2006, with five goals.

But the striker's scores weren't enough to see Germany lift the title, as it lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Italy. The Germans, however, did beat Portugal in the third place play-off.

South Africa 2010 – Group stages

Siphiwe Tshabalala (C) of South Africa celebrates scoring the first goal with team mates during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
South Africa drew 1-1 with Mexico in the opening match of the 2010 World Cup.Getty/Clive Mason

South Africa didn't go very far in 2010, but it did provide us with one of the all-time great World Cup moments.

Just after halftime in the opening match of the tournament, midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala smacked the ball into the top corner from just inside the box, sending the home crowd at Soccer City Stadium into elation.

The South Africa players then ran over to the corner flag and burst into a choreographed dance.

Brazil 2014 – Semifinals

Brazil looked like it was cruising to victory on home soil at the 2014 World Cup, winning its group comfortably, before knocking out Chile in the round of 16 and Colombia in the quarterfinals.

But an injury to talisman Neymar against Colombia forced him to miss the semifinal, and it proved costly. Germany dominated Brazil 7-1 that night, a defeat that still stands as the heaviest any home nation has ever suffered at a World Cup.

Russia 2018 – Quarterfinals

Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium.
Artem Dzyuba.Getty/Fantasista

With many of its biggest stars either having recently retired or coming to the end of their careers, host Russia wasn't touted to go very far at the 2018 World Cup.

But it defied the doubters to advance to the quarterfinals, in no small part thanks to the goals of veteran forwards Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev, who scored three and four goals, respectively.

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