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Do hosts have advantage in World Cup & Euros? Examining home team tournament records

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Host nations are often thought to have a strong advantage going into major competitions, but is that really the case?

Euro 2020 is officially a tournament played without a single host country but instead is considered a pan-European tournament.

Nevertheless, the closing stages of the tournament have been played exclusively at Wembley Stadium, with England having had the advantage of playing six of their seven games at their habitual home ground.

For that reason, it has been considered that England are effectively the host country.

But how big an advantage is being the host nation? Goal takes a look.

Do hosts have an advantage in World Cup & Euros?

Naturally, there is some advantage to host nations in terms of often being allowed to be based at one stadium, which is regularly the one in which they are most accustomed to playing at.

This European Championship, meanwhile, offers a unique advantage to England, who have made only one journey over the course of this tournament – the relatively short jaunt to Rome.

By contrast, Denmark, who were their semi-final opponents, had made the 12-hour round trip to Baku for a match just four days before the last-four game.

Italy, meanwhile, have not made such significant journeys, having already played at Wembley (twice) and Munich en route to the final.

Indeed, it is notable that all four semi-finalists played all their group matches in their home stadiums, suggesting there is some advantage to known territory.

How many times have hosts won the Euros?

History suggests that, in the European Championship, it is not too significant. Indeed, in the competition’s history, only three hosts have won the tournament – and not a single one since France triumphed in 1984.

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Before them, Spain came out on top in 1964 and Italy won the 1968 edition.

Host nations reaching the final is a more commonplace achievement, however, with France edged by Portugal 1-0 after extra time in 2016. Prior to that, Portugal had reached the final of their own tournament in 2004 only to be stunned by surprise package Greece, who ground their way to a 1-0 win in Lisbon.

How many times have hosts won the World Cup?

Host nations have won the World Cup on six occasions.

The last host nation to win the World Cup was also France, who picked up their first trophy in 1998 at the Stade de France, which was then newly constructed.

Prior to that, Argentina (1978), West Germany (1974) and England (1966) had won the tournament as hosts in the post-War era.

Meanwhile, the first two World Cup tournaments were won by host nations Uruguay (1930) and Italy (1934), though in those days teams often spent days journeying due to the lack of air transport.

Indeed, Brazil were famously the only team to win the tournament outside of their home continent until Spain claimed the 2010 trophy, underlining how tough an achievement it was.

Brazil have also been the victims of the two biggest shock losses as World Cup hosts, back in 1950 as they lost 2-1 in the final to Uruguay and in 2014 when they lost 7-1 in the semi-final to Germany and subsequently finished fourth.



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