The currently ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup has finally come halfway of the tournament. The spur that these games have been creating has enticed every football follower in the world. This time, Russia is hosting the frenzied tournament and welcomed the other 31 countries to their homeland. The host nation undergoes immense stress to keep the trophy home. This mental strain has been dealt with by various other nations who hosted the games previously.
Playing as hosts is a special feeling with having an unrivalled home advantage throughout the tournament. But it is easier said than done with the amount of pressure that comes along with being the hosts. Winning the prestigious FIFA world title at home soil has been hard to come by
Sadly, only six out of 20 host countries have managed to steal the title. It’s not only disheartening for the players but the home crowd as well who may get to witness the remaining games without their team or worst, see them loosing at the final stage.
There is no great advantage than having a 12th player beside and the home crowd acts as one. Currently, the pressure is on Russia who experienced tempestuous celebrations after beating Spain and qualifying to the quarterfinals. Russians saw a wave of hope and optimism after 48 years.
With that said, let us revisit the previous 6 times when the world cup was won by the host nation:
#6 Uruguay (1930)
The inaugural world cup was won by the respective hosts- Uruguay. The South American side followed their Olympic glory two years back in Amsterdam, with an emphatic victory to become the world champions.
Coincidentally Argentina were in the other corner in both these matches. Uruguay went unbeaten throughout the tournament thus making their victory even more memorable.
The very first world cup featured just thirteen teams from which Uruguay Argentina, USA and Yugoslavia managed to reach the top four. Uruguay saw off Yugoslavia in the semifinals with a 6-1 victory while Argentina demolished the USA with an identical scoreline in the other semifinal.
Thus an all South American semi-final was played at Estadio Centenario to crown the first world champions.
Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the final and thus became the inaugural world champions.
#5 Italy (1934)
Two times in a row the world cup was won by the host nation. The Italians won the 1934 FIFA world cup on home soil to put their name in history books. Managed by Vittorio Pozzo, Italy saw off a tricky Czechoslovakia side in the final to claim the glory.
Italy did manage to repeat this 4 years later in France but a victory on home soil is much more memorable and the Italians cherish this till date. Azzurri defeated USA, Spain and Austria before setting up the final against Czech side.
Giuseppe MeazzIta, the historic Inter Milan forward was named the best player of the tournament.
#4 England (1966)
The English side consisting of Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Gordon banks to name a few did the unthinkable by winning the world cup in 1966. This to date remains England's only world cup trophy.
What makes it even bigger is that this triumph was achieved on English soil. England started their campaign in a quiet manner with a draw against Uruguay but then on they were destructive!
Beating the likes of Argentina in the quarterfinals before prevailing over Portugal in the semifinal England were on song on their way to the final.
They met West Germany in a monumental final to win their first and till date their only world cup. With nothing to separate the 2 sides until 90 minutes mark the game went on to extra time. Geoff Hurst scored the very first world cup final hattrick to seal the victory for England. This remains the only time a hattrick has been scored in a FIFA world cup final. English football will cherish this day forever!
#3 West Germany (1974)
The 10th edition of FIFA world cup was hosted by West Germany who were the eventual champions as well.
This was West Germany's second world title but the first one at home thus multiplying the joy n number of times. The west German side finished second in their initial group losing out to rivals East Germany 1-0 in Hamburg but it was all west Germany thereon as they won each and every game en route to the final where they met The Netherlands.
Germans prevailed over the dutch as Gerd Muller scored the winner to win West Germany's second world cup.
#2 Argentina (1978)
The 11th edition of FIFA world cup was hosted in the South American nation known as Argentina. A vibrant nation know for providing some glorious footballers in history, Argentina is where football is much more than a sport.
In 1978, A young Argentine side dominated by River Plate players went on to win the world cup.
In fact, only Mario Kempes- the man held responsible for Argentina's glory was the only one playing club football outside Argentina. Kempes scored 6 goals and was the top scorer of the tournament. He also claimed the best player trophy.
This was the last time that only 16 teams competed in a world cup. Argentina defeated the Netherlands in the final at Estadio Monumental to win their first world title while Brazil and Italy claimed the third and fourth place respectively.
#1 France (1998)
The last time FIFA world cup was won by the hosts was in 1998. France claimed the prestigious world title on home soil to mark only the 6th time a team had won the world cup in their own nation.
A dynamic French side captained by Didier Deschamps went undefeated throughout the course of the tournament. France had a tricky knockout phase with an extra time goal against Paraguay needed to qualify for the last 8 where e penalty shootout went in their favour against a solid Italy side.
With a scoreline of 2-1 France prevailed over Croatia to reach the final of 1998 world cup.
Zinedine Zidane made his presence felt at world cup stage scoring twice in France's demolition of Brazil in the final with Petit scoring France's third goal of the evening to end the night 3-0. This remains France's only world cup victory till date.