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Hosts records at the World Cup

Yep it's that time again when the whole world suddenly unite over one sport, only to then fall out over controversial decisions, bad team performances, injuries decimating the squad  and the emotional scars of all those agonising penalty defeats over the years..... oh wait that's just England fans isn't it? Anyway what I was getting at is the World Cup is here once more and being hosted for the first time by Russia, who kick the tournament off with its' and their first game today (14th June). On the day of the first game of the last world cup (12th June 2014) one of my friends quoted to me the fact that no host nation has ever lost the opening game of the tournament, which is true, sort of, since no host nation has ever lost their first game, but the host's first game hasn't always been the first of the entire tournament.

In summary the host have played the tournament's exclusively first game in 1950, 1958, 1966, 1970, 2006, 2010 and later today in 2014. So that is only 7 times in 20 tournaments. In addition in 1934 there were 8 games launching the tournament at once, including the host's, and in 1962 there were four at once, including the hosts. So in another 11 tournaments the hosts were categorically not playing in the first game.
 

 Hosts first matches at the World Cups

Uruguay 1930
In this tournament of unequal, and uneven, group sizes, Uruguay was actually the last team to play a game in the tournament!!
Uruguay 1 – Peru 0
[First actual games played were France 4 – Mexico 1 AND United States 3 – Belgium 0]

Italy 1934
In this tournament, which was an entirely knock-out format, the 8 first round games all kicked-off at the same time on the same day.
Italy 7 – United States 1

France 1938
Another knock-out only tournament, in which seven of the eight first round games, including the host’s, kicked-off at the same time on the same day, with one other kicking off a day earlier.
France 3 – Belgium 1
[First actual game played was Switzerland 1 – Germany 1, which later was replayed]

Brazil 1950
The first tournament in which the host’s played in the exclusively first game.
Brazil 4 – Mexico 0

Switzerland 1954
Switzerland 2 – Italy 1
[Four games were played the day before Switzerland’s opening game]

Sweden 1958
In this tournament all the teams played their first match on the same day, but the host’s match kicked-off a few hours ahead of all the other matches.
Sweden 3 – Mexico 0

Chile 1962
Chile 3 – Switzerland 1
[The host’s match was one of four that kicked –off at the same time on the first day of the tournament]

England 1966
For the first time a host nation doesn’t actually win their/the opening match.
England 0 – Uruguay 0

Mexico 1970
Mexico 0 – Soviet Union 0

West Germany 1974
West Germany 1 – Chile 0
[First actual game was Brazil 0 – Yugoslavia 0]

Argentina 1978
Argentina 2 – Hungary 1
[First actual game was West Germany 0 – Poland 0]

Spain 1982
Spain 1 – Honduras 1
[First actual game was  Argentina 0 – Belgium 1]

Mexico 1986
Mexico 2 – Belgium 1
[First actual game was Bulgaria 1 – Italy 1]

Italy 1990
Italy 1 – Austria 0
[First actual game was Argentina 0 – Cameroon 1]

USA 1994
USA 1 – Switzerland 1
[Two other games played the day before]

France 1998
France 3 – South Africa 0
[Games had been played on two previous days by this game]

Japan and South Korea 2002
South Korea 2 – Poland 0
Japan 2 – Belgium 2
[First actual game was France 0 – Senegal 1]

Germany 2006
Germany 4 – Costa Rica 2

South Africa 2010
South Africa 1 – Mexico 1

Brazil 2014
Brazil 3 - Croatia 1




Page Last Updated - 14/06/2018
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