Who are the worst-performing host nations of the World Cup?

In a footballing sense, this year's FIFA World Cup will go down as nothing less than a disaster for Qatar - but where does the country rank in terms of worst-performing host nations of the tournament?

Qatar became the first home nation to be eliminated from their own tournament after only two World Cup fixtures.

Qualification from Group A became mathematically impossible after Ecuador's 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

The opening day 2-0 defeat to Ecuador meant they became the first host nation ever to lose their first match of a World Cup.

Their 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the final group game means they now holding the embarrassing title of being the only host nation ever not to win a single game.

But how does their dismal display at the 2022 World Cup compare to previous hosts of the tournament?

There have been several hopeless hosts since the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930 - but who takes the crown for being the worst in World Cup history?

Honourable mentions - France 1938 and Mexico 1970 (both quarter-final exits)

5th - Switzerland 1954 (first knockout round exit)

The 1954 World Cup is best summed up in two words - goals galore. The tournament set the record for the most goals ever scored at a World Cup, with an average of 5.38 per game.

A confusing group stage format was designed for the event, and would never be seen again after the tournament. Sixteen nations would be divided into four groups of four teams, containing two seeded and two unseeded sides. From here, the two seeded countries would only face the unseeded nations.

Hosts Switzerland, who were an unseeded team, managed to beat the seeded Italy 2-1 in their opening game. Josef Hugi scored a 78th-minute winner to ensure the Swiss came away with the points.

The Swiss were then dismantled 2-0 by England and a play-off for qualification was required. They beat Italy again, this time 4-1, to reach the knockout stages.

Despite scoring five goals in their game against Austria, Switzerland were eliminated from the tournament in the first knockout round after conceding seven goals.

A disappointing end but not a complete disaster. Hugi scored six goals in the tournament and remains Switzerland's record goalscorer at the World Cup.

4th - USA 1994 (round of 16 exit)

It's fair to say soccer was not the most popular sport in the USA in 1994. The MLS was only founded in 1993 after FIFA had enforced the creation of the league following the US bid to host the World Cup.

For the US national team, however, it was a chance to boost the popularity of the sport in their country.

The USA drew their opening game of the tournament 1-1 against Switzerland before picking up their first-ever World Cup win against Colombia four days later.

They lost their final game of the group 1-0 against Romania but managed to qualify for the knockout stages as one of the highest-performing third-placed teams.

The American dream would end in the round of 16. In fairness, however, they did lose 1-0 to a Brazil side that would go on to win the whole thing.

3rd - Spain 1982 (second group stage exit)

Perhaps the first team on the list to perhaps raise a few eyebrows considering Spain are a World Cup-winning nation.

The 1982 World Cup was another tournament with a bizarre format that saw teams who qualified from the first group stage go into a second group stage to see who could reach a knockout final four.

Spain scraped through the first group stage, managing just one win (2-1 against Yugoslavia). They drew 1-1 with Honduras and lost 1-0 against Northern Ireland in their final group game.

Spain qualified for the second group round by the skin of their teeth with goals scored being the only difference between them and Yugoslavia.

Spain finished rock bottom in the second group stage, though, as they were beaten 2-1 by West Germany and held to a 0-0 draw by England.

In their own tournament Spain only managed one win. Perhaps more embarrassingly, they scored just four goals in five games.

2nd - South Africa 2010 (group stage exit)

When Siphiwe Tshabalala put South Africa 1-0 up against Mexico in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup, it seemed like Bafana Bafana may have had the potential to shock the world.

The hosts had hired Carlos Alberto Parreira as their manager, the man who had guided Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994. It was not to be, though, as Mexico equalised in the 79th minute. A 3-0 drubbing against Uruguay followed.

Despite a shock 2-1 win against France, who the tournament before had been finalists, South Africa only managed to finish third in their group.

The hosts racked up four points but were eliminated on goal difference by Mexico. They became the first host side ever to fail to qualify from their group.

1st - Qatar 2022 (group stage exit)

It just had to be.

Since Qatar were chosen as the hosts, the country has been littered with controversy off the field.

From alleged deaths of migrant workers totalling in the thousands, to a seemingly constant battle against the promotion of the LGBTQ+ rainbow. Qatar may have hoped performances on the field would go some way to overshadow what has happened off of it.

It's fair to say those hopes have not come to fruition. Qatar succumbed to a 2-0 loss against Ecuador in their opening fixture, becoming the first host nation ever to lose the first game.

Things got worse when they were brushed aside 3-1 by Senegal, meaning they became the first host side to be eliminated from the tournament after just two group games.

Thye failed to beat the Netherlands in the final group game to become the first home nation to fail to win a single game at the World Cup.

Will Qatar's failures on the pitch ever be topped by a future host nation? The USA, Canada and Mexico, who co-host the 2026 World Cup, will all hope they can avoid breaking such undesirable records.

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