The 2014 World Cup has ended, with the world congratulating Germany on its victory, the first European nation to win a World Cup title in the Americas. With World Cup fever beginning to abate and fans already anticipating the next cup in Russia in 2018, it is time to rank the 10 greatest World Cup hosts since its official beginning in 1930.
South Africa 2010
The 2010 World Cup took place in South Africa, making it the first time that the event took place on African soil. That alone makes the South Africa games memorable, but the culture and beautiful backdrops to the game intensified the experience for those who enjoyed the experience in person and on television. The games also introduced the world to the Vuvuzela, to much controversy.
In 1994, the United States played host to the World Cup, even though there was not a large population of soccer fans in the country. However, an average attendance of 69,000 set a new record, with a total attendance of 3.6 million that remains the highest. The games were played in nine cities across the country, showcasing soccer to Americans around the country. The tournament helped to bring professional football to America, and in 1996 Major League Soccer was established.
Korea and Japan 2002
In 2002, the World Cup made its way to Asia for the first time. Additionally, these games produced another first: tow countries hosting the event together. The event was held in venues that had scintillating perspectives, especially in Japan. The attendance was low, but it still ranks as a success for opening up the event into Asia, and for showing how two countries can successfully share hosting duties.
In 1998, the World Cup expanded to featuring 32 national squads for the first time. Additionally, Japan and South Africa qualified for the first time, leading the way to their hosting the cup in the future. France not only hosted the games, they also took home the trophy.
England last hosted the games in 1966, with the third most attended game with over 51,000 fans for each match. These games also are the last time England won the trophy. The games took place in many of the famous stadia around England still in use today.
The 1954 games in Switzerland had the highest number of goals scored, with an average of 5.38 per game. For a game known for minimal scored games, these games must have been exciting for fans to experience.
When the games returned to South America in 1962, it was to the victor Chile, who won hosting duties over Argentina and Germany. In 1960, a devastating earthquake hit Chile, making FIFA consider changing the event location. However, Chile’s FA president appealed saying, “We have nothing, that is why we must have the World Cup.” FIFA proceeded as planned, and the games successfully took place on two impressive stadia.
In 2006, Germany hosted the games in twelve of its UEFA five-star rating stadia that had at least 40,000 seats for the matches. Visitors and natives enjoyed themselves during the games. The fans’ areas created an atmosphere for colorful congregations, providing a fun atmosphere to the games.
In 1934, Benito Mussolini saw the potential of using such an international event for propaganda and hosted the World Cup with relish. Italy also brought home the trophy.
There are mixed reviews about the success of the 2014 World Cup games, but it deserves a place on this list for its news-worthy events, including the record-breaking, upsetting defeat of the host country in the semi-finals, the infamous biting incident, and more. About 3.5 million people attended the event, with an average 53,000 per match.
photo credit: Claudio Lara