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The worst performing World Cup host nations

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Usually, home advantage gives the nations hosting a World Cup a big boost on the pitch, but that’s not always the case.

While those playing host have ended the tournament as World Champions on six occasions, others haven’t done nearly as well on home turf.

Here are our five worst World Cup host nations ever.

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Kazuyuki Toda, Daisuke Ichikawa

Japan couldn’t get past Turkey / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Relative to expectations, Japan didn’t do too badly in 2002, and they’re really only in our top five because of how well host nations usually perform.

Having played three and lost three World Cup matches prior to the edition they hosted along with South Korea, few expected them to get a point, let alone a place in the last 16. But they did just that, thanks to a draw with Belgium and wins over Russia and Tunisia.

That gave their fans hope that they could beat Turkey but they weren’t able to do so, losing 1-0.

Siphiwe Tshabalala

Tshabalala sent Africa wild / Christof Koepsel/GettyImages

Yes, South Africa became the first ever host nation to go out in the group stages in 2010 and frankly weren’t very good, but they were still better than expected.

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The Bafana Bafana drew against Mexico and beat France, although the latter result is made less impressive by the fact that the French staff and players were literally scrapping each other at that point.

Siphiwe Tshabalala scoring the first goal of the tournament was without doubt where it all peaked, immediately going down as one of the all-time great World Cup moments.

American Soccer Players Alexi Lalas and Thomas Dooley

At least their kit wasn’t bad / Christian Liewig – Corbis/GettyImages

FIFA hoped that, by having a World Cup there, they could finally break America, making ‘actual’ football popular across the pond, but the quality of the host nation’s team made that somewhat difficult.

They scraped through the group stages as one of the best third-placed sides thanks to a win over a Colombia side that many said was bribed, which says it all.

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Brazil then came along and made incredibly light work of the States, marking the end of a disappointing tournament for them. Oh, and Diana Ross missed a penalty in the opening ceremony.

Trevor Francis

Spain try to stop England’s Trevor Francis / Getty Images/GettyImages

Heading into the 1982 World Cup, Spain hadn’t made it past the first round since 1950, and they weren’t much better this time around despite playing host.

They stumbled their way through the first round, rather embarrassingly losing to Northern Ireland and drawing with Honduras but beating Yugoslavia, before crashing out in the second group stage thanks to a loss to West Germany and a somewhat lucky 0-0 draw with England.

Qatar 2022 World Cup XI

The first point-less hosts? / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Most expected Qatar to be the worst World Cup host nation ever, and they look to have lived up to that billing.

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They were dreadful in their first match against Ecuador, with a 2-0 defeat flattering them. And while they looked a little better against Senegal, Qatar again never really looked like getting a point in their 3-1 defeat.

With their final match being against the Netherlands, it’s very possible they become the first ever host nation not to claim a single point.



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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