Hosting the World Cup needs many commitments from all stakeholders involved. A lot of investments need to be put into the necessary infrastructure and security to ensure a successful event will be held. This can take years of preparations and inspections by FIFA as well.
There are several countries who have had the honor of hosting one of the world's most-watched events. The championship game is held every four years, with games alternating between South America and Europe from 1958 to 1998. The hosting of the 2002 World Cup by Japan and South Korea broke this tradition as it was the first championship in Asia, as well as the first to have two joint-hosts.
Hosts of Special Interest
South Africa made history in 2010 by being the first African country to host the World Cup Tournament. African countries were anticipated to sparkle in the tournament. New stadiums were built and the transport structures underwent makeovers that impressed the organizers. Despite the negative western coverage on the country's preparation for the tournament, FIFA inspectors gave it a clean bill of health. The subsequent Confederations Cup proved the naysayers wrong. The African countries did not perform as expected but Ghana made it into the last eight to the delight of Africa.
In 2014, the World Cup tournament was hyped as the return of soccer to its birthplace in Brazil, and the host country were among the favorite to win it. In the tournament, the highest number of goals were scored in the history of the tournament. It also saw the introduction of goal-line technology that was used to make a decision of a goal in some moments. There were good headlines from this tournament. There was a surprise run by Costa Rica to the last eight as well as the elimination of defending champions, Spain, at the group stage. In addition, Brazil was humiliated of at the semi-finals where they lost 7-0 to Germany, who went all the way to win the 2104 World Cup by beating Argentina 1-0.
Germany hosted the World Cup tournament in 2006 which presented a perfect opportunity for the hosts to avenge their 2002 final loss to Brazil in Japan/South Korea event. The country which is an economic powerhouse in Europe ensured that it had the necessary infrastructure and security in place before the event. The hosts fell short in the last four after losing to the final winners, Italy, and only took third place as consolation. It was the tournament that saw notable names retire from the stage. Zidane, Figo, and Ronaldo (Brazil) retired after leaving a mark at this tournament.
It was a unique tournament that was hosted by two countries. It also had allegations of match-fixing against co-host South Korea, especially in their victories against Spain and Italy. Refereeing was a point of discussion as Spanish officials labeled them as thieves after their two goals were disallowed for being offside yet they looked legitimate. It also had surprises when the then champions France failed to get out of their group and the surprise semi-finalists Turkey and South Korea. The different time zones for fans in other parts of the world like Europe had seen them make an adjustment in their schedules. Brazil won the tournament after winning all of their games in the competition.
Economic Burden to Host Countries
Apart from the benefits the host country gets from hosting the world cup tournaments, the costs are also dear to them. Most of the new stadia are left unused after the conclusion of the tournament. Some become too expensive to maintain earning it white elephant tags. The distribution of slots in the tournament is seen to be unfairly skewed in favor of the top countries. There are calls to reform it. Until then this tournament remains the most highly anticipated events of our time.