How many countries have actually won a World Cup on home turf, meaning they were the hosts?
Surely, hosting a World Cup provides an edge. With the energy of a nation behind the team, there is even more to play for. Take Russia in 2018. As hosts, Russia surprised a number of teams throughout the tournament. This is no more evident than in the round of 16 against Spain. As one of the favorites in the tournament, Spain likely thought it would breeze through the hosts. However, Russia had the inspiration from over 78,000 inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Eventually Russia knocked off the 2010 champions via a penalty shootout.
Even then, Russia exited the competition in the next round. Interestingly, that was also on penalties, this time against Croatia.
Seldom do host nations have deep runs in the tournament, despite hosting countries generally being strong soccer nations. The last time a host country won the World Cup was back in 1998. That year, France went on to life its first World Cup trophy behind the heroics of Zinedine Zidane and a young Lillian Thuram.
How many countries have won a World Cup on home turf?
Six of the 21 World Cup competitions were won by the hosting country. However, no team has done it twice.
On several occasions, the hosts came close to joining this group. In 1950 and 1958, Brazil and Sweden lost in the World Cup Final on home soil, respectively. Several other times, including most recently in 2014, the hosts reached the semifinals. This includes a shock run from South Korea in 2002, who lost to Germany in the semifinals, 1-0. It would have been the first time a team outside Europe and South America played in a World Cup Final.
Coming up in 2022, the hosts, Qatar, are not on many people’s radar to be a threat to join the ranks of countries to win the World Cup on home turf. However, crazy things happen during knockout-style competitions like this.
Photo: Mark Leech/Getty Images
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