The World Cup Host Countries: A Complete List

World Cup Host Countries

World Cup Host Countries

If you are a soccer (ahem, football/fútbol) fan, you likely know a thing or two about the World Cup. Held every four years, the World Cup began in 1930, and it has become the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world.

One of the interesting aspects of the World Cup is determining what country will host the event. FIFA, an international soccer governing body, selects each host country, and since its beginning, the choice of host location has always been a controversial subject. Only four European nations took part in the first World Cup in Uruguay, for example, given the three-week boat journey between Europe and South America.

The next two World Cups were both held in Europe, with the decision to hold the 1938 World Cup in France particularly controversial. Both Argentina and Uruguay boycotted the tournament, as they had been led to believe the Word Cup would rotate between the two continents.

To avoid future boycotts, FIFA began to alternate World Cup host countries between the Americas and Europe, a pattern that continued until the 2002 World Cup in Asia. Today, each host country is chosen years in advance under an exhaustive ballot system conducted by FIFA’s Council.

World Cup Host Countries List:

1930: Uruguay
1934: Italy
1938: France
1942: None (WWII)
1946: None (WWII)
1950: Brazil
1954: Switzerland
1958: Sweden
1962: Chile
1966: England
1970: Mexico
1974: Germany
1978: Argentina
1983: Spain
1986: Mexico
1990: Italy
1994: United States
1998: France
2002: Japan and South Korea
2006: Germany
2010: South Africa
2014: Brazil
2018: Russia
2022: Qatar

As you can see from the list, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, and Brazil have hosted the World Cup twice. The World Cup was canceled by FIFA in 1942 and 1946, due to the outbreak of World War II. In 2002, the World Cup was played in Asia for the first time. That also marked the first time the World Cup had more than one host, being split between Japan and South Korea.

Want to learn more about the 2022 host country? You might enjoy this post from the Sporcle Blog: Where Is Qatar?

If you love the World Cup, make sure to check out these fun World Cup quizzes on Sporcle. And test your knowledge of World Cup host countries in the quiz below!