"Modise… it's a really good ball. Tshabalala! Goal Bafana Bafana! Goal for South Africa! Goal for all Africa! Jabulile! Rejoice! Bafana Bafana have popped the first cork on their day of days. Sips Tshabalala!"
"The Brazilians sink to their knees in prayer at the final whistle, and they better be praying for forgiveness after that shambolic performance. It was an utter capitulation from the hosts, and this simply has to be the lowest point in the history of such a great footballing nation."
Two different sets of commentary with contrasting emotions and this is instrumental on how the performance of host countries have been over the year in the Fifa World Cup. Although the journey of both the countries mentioned above ended in historic defeats, yet for one country it was glorious and the other it was shambolic.
In 2010, South Africa became the first ever African country to host the Fifa World Cup. Although they began the tournament with the first goal of the tournament and an epic commentary of Peter Drury, they could not get past the group stage that year. Even though South Africa is till now the only host country to never reach the Round of 16, yet the result of that tournament was glorious according to their merits. They exited the World Cup with 4 points and some exciting footballing display.
In contrast to that host nation's performance, 2014 was the year when the most decorated footballing nation Brazil hosted the biggest show on earth in their mission to grab hold of the sixth Fifa World Cup they had been eyeing. As it was predicted, they were playing like the favorites to keep the golden trophy home but the semi-final could only offer them "7up" as they dropped a shambolic performance conceding 7 goals against the champions of that edition Germany. This is till now the worst match result of a host nation.
Meanwhile, when we get back to the positives we should start with Russia as they got their best result in the Fifa World Cup as an independent nation when they hosted the very last edition of the tournament in 2018. Courtesy of their captain Igor Akainfeev, Russia had an amazing result in that World Cup knocking the one-time champion Spain out in the penalty shootouts. The passion and dedication Russia showed turned social media into the fire and with the long-range spectacular goals Denis Cheryshev scored, he was denoted as "Russian Messi" according to many.
As the positives are surrounded, in 13 of the 21 Fifa World Cups a host country was able to reach the semi-final of the greatest show on earth. Till now 6 teams have had the luxury of keeping the 18 karats and 36.5 cm tall golden trophy home after hosting the tournament. In total, only 8 teams have won the cup among which Brazil and Spain could not capitalize on their home advantages.
Just like independent Russia, Mexico got their best result in a Fifa World Cup edition when they reached the quarter-finals twice while hosting. As is the case of denoting the best results by host nations, Sweden had the luxury of playing the final when they hosted in 1958. Moreover, Chile and South Korea got their best results as being the semi-finalist when they hosted only.
Since South Korea's mention as the semi-finalist has come up, it should be talked about further. One, without any argument, would name South Korea's top four finish in the 2002 Fifa World Cup as the most amazing result by any country. Most South Koreans refer to the players that were in the squad as national heroes and as an appreciation, the players were exempted from their compulsory military duties. However, is it the same case for the rest of the world? Do fans from all over the globe have the incentive to appreciate this South Korean team?
The renowned "South Korea Controversy" is spread all over since unjust South Korea did to other teams as the joint host nation of the 2002 Fifa World Cup. South Korea had famously beaten Portugal, Italy, and Spain but those were more like Alicent Hightower unjustly crowning her usurper son Aegon II Targaryen in George R.R Martin's book "Fire & Blood". Portugal had two of their players sent off with multiple fouls denied, Italy were denied a clear penalty with Francesco Totti wrongly sent off, and Spain had two disallowed goals with numerous offside calls that hindered their play.
The upcoming 2022 Fifa World Cup has its own controversy as well even before the tournament began just like what happened before the tournament's 2002 edition. South Korea and Japan were given the responsibilities despite European fans having to watch the games in early mornings affecting businesses and employees. The same is the case with Qatar being the host nation and an even more concerning issue is that this is the first time a Winter Fifa World Cup is scheduled with the most amount of expenses in terms of money.
Will Qatar be able to headstart its first-ever participation in the Fifa World Cup with a glorious outcome? Will Qatar be able to drop a performance like 1958's Sweden? Or, is it going to be the carbon copy of the 2002 controversy? Qatar may have little to no chance of marking their name alongside Uruguay, Italy, England, Germany, Argentina, and France but it is football we are talking about and the greatest show on earth we are talking about. Anything and everything that can happen awaits us on November 20 with the Asian host nation facing Ecuador.