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World Cup A-Z: Hosts

24 May 2014

When it comes to hosting a FIFA World Cup, it's fair to say you're in for a successful tournament.

Although only six of the 19 tournaments have been won by the host nation, both France and England secured their only title on home territory, while one of Uruguay and Argentina's two successes came in their own back yard.

Additionally, Sweden reached the 1958 Final when hosting, before losing 5-2 to Brazil, and have never got near the last two since. We can add South Korea into that mix too.

When they were joint-hosts with Japan in 2002 they Koreans reached the semi-finals before eventually finishing fourth. Again, they haven't come close to the last four in any other edition of the World Cup.

Whether this is because of a familiarity with the climate, an increased level of support or the knowledge that a spot in the Finals is secure without needing to negotiate through qualification, we are unable to scientifically prove.

The tournament in 2002 remains the only time a FIFA World Cup has been jointly-hosted, as the two eastern nations came together to welcome the world. The earliest it could be joint-hosted again is 2026.

The 2014 World Cup will be the 20th version of the competition, with Brazil becoming the fifth nation to host the tournament for a second time. The other four are Italy (1934 and 1990), Mexico (1970 and 1986), France (1938 and 1998) and Germany (1974 as West Germany and 2006).

The Maracana will become the second stadium to host two Finals, on 13th July 2014, following on from the 1950 Final (technically not a Final, but counted as the deciding match). The other venue is the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City which held the '70 and '86 Finals.

Mexico became two-time hosts at the expense of Colombia. In 1974, the South American nation were voted to host the '86 tournament but a lack of suitable infrastructure, among other reasons, threatened their ability to stage the event. In the end, several other countries offered their resources before Mexico were chosen.

The 1962 World Cup also nearly didn't go ahead. Due to be held in Chile, the Valdivia earthquake - the most powerful earthquake of the 20th century with a magnitude of 9.5 - hit the nation two years previously, in 1960.

Causing over $550 million worth of damage and taking thousands of lives, the tournament was in doubt. But knowing how much it would mean to the people in their recovery, the event went ahead as planned.

The first eight editions of the World Cup were held exclusively between the continents of South America and Europe, before Mexico hosted in 1970. Since 1958, the tournament has been held alternatively between Europe and any other continent. This pattern will be broken for the first time when Brazil host this summer following South Africa in 2010.

Russia and Qatar will become first-time hosts in 2018 and 2022 respectively, becoming the 17th and 18th nations to be handed centre stage. When Qatar '22 gets under way, the World Cup will reach its fifth continent. The remaining ones to be visited are Australia and Antarctica.

Click here to see the other letters in our World Cup A to Z


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