World Cup 2022: How do Qatar compare to the tournament's worst-performing hosts?

Qatar players show dejection after the third goal of Senegal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Qatar and Senegal at Al Thumama Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
(Image credit: Mohamed Farag/Getty Images)

The Netherlands' 1-1 draw with Ecuador Ecuador confirmed Qatar's elimination from the World Cup 2022 – making the Maroons the first hosts to go out after just two games (and the first team knocked out of these finals).

Earlier on Friday, Felix Sanchez's sides looked largely out of their depth again in losing 3-1 to Senegal – having been beaten 2-0 by Ecuador in the tournament opener. With another 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands (nice that they went easy on them), they're well and truly the worst team statistically to have ever hosted the tournament. 

But how does Qatar's performance stack up against the displays of some of the World Cup's other underwhelming hosts down the years? FFT delves into the history books to find out...

South Africa, 2010

Bongani Khumalo of South Africa (#20) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between France and South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa.

(Image credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

South Africa became the first African country to stage the World Cup when they hosted the 2010 edition – but unfortunately, they also became the first nation to go out at the first hurdle, finishing third in their group and missing out on the last-16 on goal difference to Mexico.

Bafana Bafana were anything but pushovers, though, taking the lead against Mexico in the tournament opener through Siphiwe Tshabalala's famous goal before drawing 1-1 – and taking advantage of a France side in disarray to beat them 2-1 in their final game.

Ultimately, a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay did for South Africa – who haven't qualified for any of the four World Cups since.

USA, 1994

USA, 1994 World Cup

(Image credit: Michael Kunkel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In 1994, soccer truly arrived in the USA as the country hosted the sport's ultimate event (and the final edition to feature 24 teams, before the expansion to 32 at France 98).

This was only the States' third World Cup appearance in 12 editions, and they'd gone out at the group stage in each of their previous two – and it was almost three out of three on home soil...

Drawn into a group alongside Romania, Switzerland and Colombia, Bora Milutinović's side scraped through as one of the best third-placed teams with a record of won one, drawn one, lost one – then lost 1-0 to eventual winners Brazil in the last 16.

Mexico, 1970

One of four countries to host the World Cup on two occasions, Mexico's first home tournament wasn't all that memorable for their team's performance.

Drawn into a group with the Soviet Union, Belgium and El Salvador, El Tri qualified for the second round (the quarter-finals as this was only a 16-team tournament) with relative ease by drawing with Belgium, and beating the Soviet Union and El Salvador 1-0 and 4-0 respectively – but they quickly came unstuck in the knockout stages.

Jose Luis Gonzales put the Mexicans in front against Italy in Toluca – only for the Azzurri (who went on to lose to Brazil by the same scoreline in the final) to come back and comprehensively win 4-1.

Switzerland, 1954

Switzerland made it to the second round (quarter-finals) and no further as they held the World Cup finals – but they did play their part in a bit of tournament history.

After beating Italy and losing to England in the group stage – which, intriguingly, saw each team only face two of the group's other three – the hosts then thumped Italy 4-1 in a play-off to progress to the last eight.

And it was there that history was made... The Swiss came out on the wrong side of a 7-5 thriller against neighbouring Austria; unsurprisingly, it remains the highest-scoring World Cup game of all time.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...