Qatar’s World Cup flop: The Maroon ends with the worst record for a host nation in FIFA history

Qatar had been preparing for the 2022 World Cup, their World Cup, for more than 12 years since they won hosting rights.

Not only had they invested in physical infrastructure, but they also invested heavily in creating new academies and avenues to create a team ready to compete on the world stage.

However, the 2019 Asian champions fell far short of high expectations, losing all three games and scoring just one goal.

With hosts traditionally known for outperforming in front of their home crowd, let’s take a look at how Qatar’s performance compares to other World Cup home nations.

MORE: Group A World Cup 2022 results

World Cup record in Qatar

The 2022 World Cup was actually Qatar’s first World Cup ever as they had never qualified before automatically qualifying as hosts. Her best qualifying performance was previously reaching the fourth round of the AFC section in 2014 and 2018.

It was the first time since 1934 that a host country had never previously qualified for a World Cup. Since then, every single host nation had qualified at least once before hosting the tournament.

Qatar Results at World Cup 2022

As is tradition with all host countries of recent tournaments, Qatar automatically qualified for the World Cup. As a result, they were placed with the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador in Group A, which many pundits saw as a group Qatar could compete in.

However, there were ominous signs on opening night when the hosts lost 2-0 to Ecuador in a listless performance that saw little creation. Their next game wasn’t much better – they may have scored their first World Cup goal, but they suffered a 3-1 defeat by Senegal, which knocked them out of the round of 16.

While you didn’t expect them to get much out of their last game against powerhouse Netherlands, their defensive and midfield performances were poor in a 2-0 defeat.

Qatar ended their group with zero points, seven goals conceded and just one goal scored, bottom of the table. They also never led a game and were behind in every game at halftime.

Is Qatar the worst World Cup host?

Qatar’s poor showing meant Qatar made history for all the wrong reasons by becoming the worst host country at a World Cup.

In all previous editions of the World Cup, all but one of the host nations have made it to at least the knockout stages or a second group stage. The only exception was South Africa in 2010, where despite a narrow draw against Mexico on opening night and defeating 2006 finalists France in their last game, they missed out on the Round of 16 thanks to a eminent 3-0 defeat by Uruguay.

Nonetheless, South Africa took a very respectable four points and were hampered by the sending off of their goalkeeper in their grueling defeat by Uruguay. Qatar does not make such excuses and has been preparing for this very tournament for 12 years.

As a country looking to raise their image on and off the pitch at this tournament, performances on the pitch have been a disaster for Qatari football’s image.

Which World Cup hosts did best?

Spurred on by home crowds, many World Cup host nations put on their best performances ever, with six nations winning the World Cup on home soil.

These include Uruguay and Italy in 1930 and 1934 at the first two World Cups. England were the next host nation to achieve that feat in 1966 and that remains their only triumph. West Germany won their second World Cup in 1974 when they defeated the Netherlands in Munich, and Argentina defeated the same opponent in 1978 in Buenos Aires.

The last host country to win their own World Cup was France in 1998 when Zinedine Zidane scored twice at the Stade de France to lead Les Bleus to a 3-0 win over Brazil.

Other countries have shown their best performances as hosts, Sweden losing to a Pele-inspired Brazil in the 1958 final. South Korea surprised the world when they reached the semifinals in 2002, as did Chile in 1962. Mexico and Switzerland reached the quarterfinals when they hosted the tournament, and Japan achieved their best performance in 2002 when they reached the round of 16.

Host country appearances at the World Cup

edition host nation recording goal difference level reached
1930 Uruguay 4W, 0D, 0L +12 winner
1934 Italy 4W, 1D, 0L +9 winner
1938 France 1W 1L 0 quarter finals
1950 Brazil 4W, 1D, 1L +16 runners-up
1954 Switzerland 2W, 0D, 2L 0 quarter finals
1958 Sweden 4W, 1D, 1L +5 runners-up
1962 Chile 4W, 0D, 2L +2 third place
1966 England 5W, 1D, 0L +8 winner
1970 Mexico 2W, 1D, 1L +2 quarter finals
1974 West Germany 6W, 0D, 1L +9 winner
1978 Argentina 5W, 1D, 1L +11 winner
1982 Spain 1W, 2D, 2L -1 Second group stage
1986 Mexico 3W, 0D, 2L +4 quarter finals
1990 Italy 6W, 1D, 0L +8 third place
1994 United States of America 1W, 1D, 2L -1 round of 16
1998 France 6W, 1D, 0L +13 winner
2002* Korea 3W, 2D, 2L +2 fourth place
2002* Japan 2W, 1D, 1L +2 round of 16
2006 Germany 5W, 1D, 1L +8 third place
2010 South Africa 1W, 1D, 1L -2 group stage
2014 Brazil 3W, 2D, 2L -3 fourth place
2018 Russia 2W, 2D, 1L +4 quarter finals
2022 Qatar 0W, 0D, 3L -7 group stage

*Designated tournament was co-host

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