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|1974||West Germany||West Germany||-||Holland||-|
Six of the twenty World Cup Winners above were the host nation. A further two host nations were the losing finalists.
Possibly the most startling stat is the record of countries playing within their own continent. In fifteen of the twenty World Cups that have been contested the winner has been playing in their home continent. Only three South American teams have even reached the final in European World Cups so European teams are clearly favoured.Germany and Italy have been the most successful sides in European World Cups winning seven between them. The other three World Cups were either won by Brazil (in Sweden in 1958) or were won by the hosts (England in 1966 and France in 1998).
Germany look the main contenders having won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, becoming the first European team to win the World Cup in South America in the process. They did so with a young squad so age won't be an issue 4 years on. If they can find themselves an out and out striker before the 2018 World Cup they'll be even tougher to beat this time around.Spain disappointed in 2014 but they have enough good young players coming through to replace most of the old guard ahead of 2018. France are also bringing through some talented youngsters but France certainly have their limitations whilst Holland are becoming reliable yard sticks at World Cups.
Germany promise to be even better at the 2018 World Cup as they'll be playing closer to home and their young squad will have matured even further. There was a question mark going into the 2014 World Cup about this group of players' mentality as they'd so often been knocked out in the semi finals of major tournament but they roved they can see the job through and are strong favourites.
Spain's domination of football came to an abrupt end in 2014 when they were the first team eliminated from the World Cup. It's the end of an era with layers such as Xavi and Iniesta getting on a bit and it's time for the likes of Isco and Morata to step up to the late.
Brazil reached the semi final of the 2014 World Cup but they were still disappointing throughout the tournament, never really looking like the Brazil that fans love to watch. They'll need more support for Neymar if they are to play a hand at this World Cup.
Argentina may have reached the final of the 2014 World Cup but they were far from impressive and never really put in a performance of note. They have a great attack but struggle to get the likes of Messi, Higuain and Aguero playing well with each other and it looks as though they need a change in system to flourish.
France impressed many at the 2014 World Cup but they had arguably the easiest route to the Quarter Finals of any team having beaten nothing of note before being eliminated by Germany. This might ensure France are overbet for this World Cup but they are capable of improving with the likes of Paul Pogba becoming a top class talent and there aren't so many strong contenders at this World Cup so they don't need to progress too much to play a role here.