World Cup Hosts: All time list of countries, cities, stadiums and venues in tournament history

With the 2022 World Cup drawing closer and the 2026 World Cup scheduled for the United States, Mexico and Canada, it’s time to take a look back at the previous World Cup hosts.

Since the tournament’s origins in 1930, when Uruguay hosted 16 countries in the inaugural FIFA World Cup, the tournament has been held every four years, interrupted just once. Since 1950, the tournament has crowned football’s highest honor in every four-year cycle like clockwork.

Brazil have won the most World Cups with five, hosting the tournament twice. No nation has staged more than two tournaments and all five major continents have staged at least one World Cup.

The Sporting News brings you a look back at all the previous World Cups, a full list of the most important stadiums and performances from the host countries.

MORE: A comprehensive look at the 2026 World Cup venues in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Previous World Cup hosts

The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, and has been held every four years since, interrupted only once in an eight-year period due to World War II. It has been running continuously since 1950, spanning the globe to crown the best footballing nation in each cycle.

The first Multi-Nation World Cup was held in 2002, with the event being shared between Japan and South Korea. The 2026 World Cup held in the United States, Mexico and Canada will be the second such event.

Year Host Continent Rooms
1930 Uruguay South America 3
1934 Italy Europe 8
1938 France Europe ten
1942 canceled
1948 canceled
1950 Brazil South America 6
1954 Swiss Europe 6
1958 Sweden Europe 12
1962 Chile South America 4
1966 England Europe 8
1970 Mexico North America 5
1974 West Germany Europe 9
1978 Argentina South America 6
1982 Spain Europe 17
1986 Mexico North America 12
1990 Italy Europe 12
1994 United States North America 9
1998 France Europe ten
2002 Japan
South Korea
Asia 20
2006 Germany Europe 12
2010 South Africa Africa ten
2014 Brazil South America 12
2018 Russia Europe 12
2022 Qatar Asia 8
2026 United States
Mexico
Canada
North America 16

World Cup hosts and venue distribution

The World Cup has been the unmissable event in world football since its inception in 1930, when Uruguay were the inaugural event at three stadiums in Monteviedo.

Since then, 17 different nations have hosted World Cup matches, with Qatar set to become the 18th later this year and Canada the 19th in 2026.

Mexico was the first country to repeat itself as World Cup hosts when it hosted the tournament for the second time in 1986, and the Estadio Azteca became the first stadium to host two Cup finals of the world. It remains today one of only two venues across the world to have staged multiple World Cup finals, alongside Brazil’s famed Maracana, although the Rose Bowl could join that list if awarded a second World Cup final in 2026.

The Estadio Azteca has also hosted the most World Cup matches, with 19 World Cup matches on this hallowed ground. He will be added to this number at the 2026 World Cup.

Breakdown of World Cup venues

Year Host Rooms Opening game Final most games
1930 Uruguay 3 Monteviedo
(Estadio Pocitos)
Monteviedo
(Estadio Centenary)
10 – Monteviedo
(Estadio Centenary)
1934 Italy 8 Eight simultaneous
opening games
Rome
(National Stadium)
Four sites tied
with three games
1938 France ten Paris
(Princes Park)
Paris
(Olympic Stadium)
Two rooms tied
with three games
1950 Brazil 6 Rio de Janeiro
(Estadio do Maracana)
Rio de Janeiro
(Estadio do Maracana)
6-Rio de Janeiro
(Estadio do Maracana)
1954 Swiss 6 Geneva
(Charmilles Stadium)
Bern
(Wankdorf Stadium)
6 – Basel
(Saint-Jacques Stadium)
1958 Sweden 12 Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
8 – Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
1962 Chile 4 Four simultaneous
opening games
santiago
(National Stadium)
11-Santiago
(National Stadium)
1966 England 8 London
(Wembley Stadium)
London
(Wembley Stadium)
10 – London
(Wembley Stadium)
1970 Mexico 5 Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
10 – Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
1974 West Germany 9 West Berlin
(Olympic Stadium)
Munich
(Olympic Stadium)
Four sites tied
with five games
1978 Argentina 6 Mar del Plata
(Estadio Jose Minella)
Buenos Aires
(Monumental Stadium)
9-Buenos Aires
(Monumental Stadium)
1982 Spain 17 Barcelona
(Camp Nou)
Madrid
(Santiago Bernabéu)
Two rooms tied
with four games
1986 Mexico 12 Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
9 – Mexico City
(Azteca Stadium)
1990 Italy 12 Milano
(San Siro)
Rome
(Olympic Stadium)
Two rooms tied
with six matches
1994 United States 9 Chicago
(Soldiers Field)
Los Angeles
(Rose-bowl)
8-Los Angeles
(Rose-bowl)
1998 France ten Paris
(Stade de France)
Paris
(Princes Park)
Two rooms tied
with seven games
2002 Japan
South Korea
20 Seoul
(Sangam Stadium)
Yokohama
(Nissan Stadium)
Four sites tied
with four games
2006 Germany 12 Munich
(Allianz Arena)
Berlin
(Olympic Stadium)
Four sites tied
with six games
2010 South Africa ten Johannesburg
(FNB Stadium)
Johannesburg
(FNB Stadium)
Two rooms tied
with seven matches
2014 Brazil 12 Sao Paulo
(Neo Quimica Arena)
Rio de Janeiro
(Estadio do Maracana)
Two rooms tied
with seven games
2018 Russia 12 Moscow
(Luzhniki Stadium)
Moscow
(Luzhniki Stadium)
Two rooms tied
with seven games
2022 Qatar 8 Doha
(Al Thumama Stadium)
Lusail
(Iconic stadium of Lusail)
10 – Lusail
(Iconic stadium of Lusail)
2026 United States
Mexico
Canada
16

World Cup hosts by continent

European nations have hosted the most World Cups, but in recent years FIFA has clearly made an effort to broadcast the tournament.

If the 2026 World Cup takes place in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the last five World Cups will have taken place on five different continents.

Continent world cups Last
Europe 9 2018 (Russia)
South America 5 2014 (Brazil)
North America 4 1994 (United States)**
Asia 2 2002 (Japan and Sask.)*
Africa 1 2010 (South Africa)

* Scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup
** Scheduled to host the 2026 World Cup

How does the host usually behave at the World Cup?

There is a clear advantage on the pitch when a host country participates in a FIFA World Cup.

Six times in history, a host country has won the tournament on aggregate, with the host reaching the final two other times.

Additionally, 10 times a nation’s performance at their host World Cup is recorded as their best ever result at a World Cup. Although this hasn’t happened recently, the performance still shows a marked increase from the host. For example, while Russia’s run to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup was technically not the nation’s best World Cup performance (they finished fourth at the 1966 World Cup), it still represented a notable outperformance of where the nation was expected to finish.

Below is a table showing the result of each host country in a FIFA World Cup.

Year Host Stage reached Defeated by
1930 Uruguay Final won*
1934 Italy Final won*
1938 France Quarter-finals Italy
1950 Brazil Final Uruguay
1954 Swiss Quarter-finals* Austria
1958 Sweden Final* Brazil
1962 Chile Third place (won)* Brazil
1966 England Final won*
1970 Mexico Quarterfinal* Italy
1974 West Germany Final won*
1978 Argentina Final won*
1982 Spain 2nd group stage West Germany
1986 Mexico Quarter-finals* West Germany
1990 Italy Third place (won) Argentina
1994 UNITED STATES Round of 16 Brazil
1998 France Final won*
2002 Japan
South Korea
Round of 16*
Third place (lost)*
Turkey
Germany & Turkey
2006 Germany Third place (won) Italy
2010 South Africa Group stage Uruguay
2014 Brazil Third place (lost) Germany & Netherlands
2018 Russia Quarter-finals Croatia
2022 Qatar ??
2026 UNITED STATES
Mexico
Canada
??
??
??

* Best national result in a World Cup tournament

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