World Cup hosts: All-time list of countries, cities, stadiums, venues in tournament history

With the 2022 World Cup drawing closer and the 2026 World Cup set for the United States, Mexico, and Canada, it’s time to look back at 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, only interrupted once. Since 1950, the tournament has crowned soccer’s greatest honor in each four-year cycle like clockwork.

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

The Sporting News brings you a look back at all the previous World Cups, a full breakdown of which stadiums featured most prominently, and how the host nations performed.

MORE: A full look at the 2026 World Cup venues for 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, only paused once for an eight year period due to World War II. It has been held uninterrupted since 1950, spanning the globe to crown the best soccer nation in each cycle.

The first multi-nation World Cup was in 2002, with the event split between Japan and South Korea. The 2026 World Cup held across the United States, Mexico, and Canada will be the second such event.

Year Host Continent Venues
1930 Uruguay South America 3
1934 Italy Europe 8
1938 France Europe 10
1942 cancelled  —
1948 cancelled  —
1950 Brazil South America 6
1954 Switzerland 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 10
2002 Japan
South Korea
Asia 20
2006 Germany Europe 12
2010 South Africa Africa 10
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 breakdown

The World Cup has been the staple event of global soccer since its inception in 1930, when Uruguay the inaugural event across three stadiums in Monteviedo.

Since, 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 as a World Cup host when it welcomed the tournament for the second time in 1986, and Estadio Azteca became the first stadium to host two World Cup finals. It today remains one of only two venues across the globe to have held multiple World Cup finals, alongside Brazil’s famous Maracana, although the Rose Bowl could join that list if assigned a second World Cup final in 2026.

Estadio Azteca has also hosted the most World Cup games, with 19 World Cup matches on that hallowed field. It will add to that number in the 2026 World Cup.

World Cup venue breakdown

Year Host Venues Opening Match Final Most games
1930 Uruguay 3 Monteviedo
(Estadio Pocitos)
Monteviedo
(Estadio Centenario)
10 – Monteviedo
(Estadio Centenario)
1934 Italy 8 Eight concurrent
opening games
Rome
(Stadio Nazionale)
Four venues tied
with three games
1938 France 10 Paris
(Parc des Princes)
Paris
(Stade Olympique)
Two venues 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 Switzerland 6 Geneva
(Charmilles Stadium)
Bern
(Wankdorf Stadium)
6 – Basel
(St. Jakob Stadium)
1958 Sweden 12 Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
8 – Solna
(Rasunda Stadium)
1962 Chile 4 Four concurrent
opening games
Santiago
(Estadio Nacional)
11 – Santiago
(Estadio Nacional)
1966 England 8 London
(Wembley Stadium)
London
(Wembley Stadium)
10 – London
(Wembley Stadium)
1970 Mexico 5 Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
10 – Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
1974 W. Germany 9 West Berlin
(Olympiastadion)
Munich
(Olympiastadion)
Four venues tied
with five games
1978 Argentina 6 Mar del Plata
(Estadio Jose Minella)
Buenos Aires
(Estadio Monumental)
9 – Buenos Aires
(Estadio Monumental)
1982 Spain 17 Barcelona
(Camp Nou)
Madrid
(Santiago Bernabeu)
Two venues tied
with four games
1986 Mexico 12 Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
9 – Mexico City
(Estadio Azteca)
1990 Italy 12 Milan
(San Siro)
Rome
(Stadio Olimpico)
Two venues tied
with six games
1994 United States 9 Chicago
(Soldier Field)
Los Angeles
(Rose Bowl)
8 – Los Angeles
(Rose Bowl)
1998 France 10 Paris
(Stade de France)
Paris
(Parc des Princes)
Two venues tied
with seven games
2002 Japan
South Korea
20 Seoul
(Sangam Stadium)
Yokohama
(Nissan Stadium)
Four venues tied
with four games
2006 Germany 12 Munich
(Allianz Arena)
Berlin
(Olympiastadion)
Four venues tied
with six games
2010 South Africa 10 Johannesburg
(FNB Stadium)
Johannesburg
(FNB Stadium)
Two venues tied
with seven games
2014 Brazil 12 Sao Paulo
(Neo Quimica Arena)
Rio de Janeiro
(Estadio do Maracana)
Two venues tied
with seven games
2018 Russia 12 Moscow
(Luzhniki Stadium)
Moscow
(Luzhniki Stadium)
Two venues tied
with seven games
2022 Qatar 8 Doha
(Al Thumama Stadium)
Lusail
(Lusail Iconic Stadium)
10 – Lusail
(Lusail Iconic Stadium)
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 spread the tournament around.

Should the 2026 World Cup go ahead 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 (USA)**
Asia 2 2002 (Japan & SK)*
Africa 1 2010 (South Africa)

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

How does the host usually perform at the World Cup?

There is a clear home field advantage when a host nation competes in a FIFA World Cup.

Six times in history a host nation has won the tournament altogether, with the host reaching the final two other times.

Additionally, 10 times a nation’s performance at their hosted World Cup is on record as their best-ever result in a World Cup. While that hasn’t happened recently, performances still show a clear host bump. For example, while Russia’s run to the quarterfinals in 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 noticeable over-performance to where the nation was expected to finish.

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

Year Host Stage Reached Defeated By
1930 Uruguay Won Final*  —
1934 Italy Won Final*  —
1938 France Quarterfinals Italy
1950 Brazil Final Uruguay
1954 Switzerland Quarterfinals* Austria
1958 Sweden Final* Brazil
1962 Chile Third Place (won)* Brazil
1966 England Won Final*  —
1970 Mexico Quarterfinal* Italy
1974 W. Germany Won Final*  —
1978 Argentina Won Final*  —
1982 Spain 2nd Group Stage W. Germany
1986 Mexico Quarterfinals* W. Germany
1990 Italy Third Place (won) Argentina
1994 USA Round of 16 Brazil
1998 France Won Final*  —
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 Quarterfinals Croatia
2022 Qatar ??  
2026 USA
Mexico
Canada
??
??
??
 

* Nation’s best result in a World Cup tournament

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