Obviously, there are host nations that don’t have the quality to progress as far as they would like, as South Africa found out in 2010, despite beating France 2-1 in their final group stage game. But, the likes of Germany in 2006 made a big impression when hosting a tournament, as despite losing the 2002 World Cup Final to Brazil 2-0, they failed to qualify from their group at the Euro 2004 finals prior to finishing third place in the 2006 World Cup.
In 2006 they missed out on a place in the final having narrowly being beaten 2-0 in the semi-finals by two late strikes from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero for eventual champions Italy, which was a credible effort by Jurgen Klinsmann’s men, as the Italian’s only conceded two goals in the whole tournament, via an own goal by Cristian Zaccardo in the group stages, and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France.
Russia also managed to make the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals despite some believing that they wouldn’t even make it through a group consisting of Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
They beat the latter two mentioned with ease, scoring eight goals over the two games, before recording a shock penalty shootout win against Spain in the round of 16. This was topped off by Russia only being beaten on penalties by eventual runners-up Croatia, in what turned out to be a tournament for the Russian fans to be proud of.
In the Euros, there are some examples of big overachievers, such as Portugal in 2004 having made it to the final of the competition that they hosted, despite being beaten in the final by shock winners Greece. Despite this, they had memorable games along the way even though they weren’t one of the favourites going into the tournament, although opinions of their side were enhanced following FC Porto’s shock Champions League win that year.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side beat the likes of Spain, England and Netherlands on the way to reaching the final, having failed to progress from a group containing South Korea, USA and Poland in the 2002 World Cup.