After World Cup defending champions Germany, were shockingly knocked out of the group stages of the 2018 on going World Cup in Russia, we take a brief stroll to look at other reigning champions that also hold such unenviable record of failing to mount a good defense of their title by crashing out in the group stages.
1. Germany – 2018
It wasn’t like Germany where oblivious of the ” champions curse ” their head coach, Joachim Low was so confident of avoiding the fate that has accompanied other champions when he was quoted while answering a question on the issue,
” I don’t know what happened to the other champions that failed to qualify from the group stage, but i am certain we would go through ” . Low Said
Well, fast forward to June and star studded Germany are already out of the World Cup in the group stages after losing their opening game to Mexico ( 0-1 ), a late 2-1 over Sweden revived their hopes of going through, before a determined South Korea who lost their first two games shattered the such dreams with a well deserved 2-0 win over the highly fancied champions who were expected to cruise out of group F.
2. Spain – 2014
Spain lifted the first World Cup competition hosted on African soil in 2010 and even went on to win the European Championships two years later in what was their golden generation galvanised by Barcelona tiki taka style of football.
Then came their horrendous crash at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after losing their first two matches 1-5 to the Netherlands whom they beat in the previous final, followed by a 0-2 defeat to Chile to bring their tournament to an abrupt end.
3. Italy – 2010
The Azzurri of Italy overcame a damaging match fixing scandal in 2006 to match on to World Cup glory under coach Marcelo Lippi in Germany.
But their attempt to defend their title in South Africa 2010 tournament was a disaster after drawing their first two games against Paraguay and New Zealand before a stunning 2-3 loss to unfancied Slovakia ensured they crashed out with a whimper.
4. France – 2002
The Le Blues of France had claimed the 1998 World Cup on home soil and were going into the 2002 finals in Korea and Japan with not only the enviable midfield trio of Zinedine Zidane, Patric Viera and Claudio Makelele, but they also had the top scorers in three top European leagues Thierry Henry (English Premier League), Djibril Cisse ( French Ligue 1) and David Trezeguet ( Italian Serie A) heading into a group that had debutant Senegal, Uruguay and Denmark.
France lost their opening game to African side Senegal by 0-1, drew 0-0 against Uruguay and lost to Denmark.
Worse off, France failed to register a single goal in their three matches