Winning the World Cup is not an easy feat by any means but how do the side that wins one tournament get on in the next one. Here I take a look at the last 5 World Cup winners and how they have featured in the following competition.
Last six World Cup and the winners:
Our first look into the history is at France. In 1998 the tournament was hosted in France and they were the winners, their first and only World Cup to date in what was a terrific tournament for Zidane and co. However, Japan and Korea in 2002 was a complete different story for the French. They qualified for the 2002 tournament but that was as good as it got for them. The French were knocked out at the group stage in a group that contained themselves, Denmark, Uruguay and Senegal. The Danes and Senegal made it through meaning the winners of the previous tournament saw the defence of their crown end at the first hurdle without scoring a single goal.
There was massive hope in France going into the tournament with belief that that France could retain the crown but they were brought down to earth with a huge bump when they were beaten by Senegal. They followed that up with a draw against Uruguay meaning they still had a chance of qualification going into the final round of games but a 2-0 defeat Denmark meant the they failed to make it through picking up just one point and failing to score in the tournament. Brazil were the eventual winners beating Germany 2-0 in the final with two goals from the great Ronaldo.
Moving onto 2006 in Germany and Brazil were the defending champions fresh from winning their 5th title and becoming the most successful team in World Cup history. Brazil had one of the best teams in World Cup history with the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka and Roberto Carlos. As with the French in the previous tournament there was hope that Brazil would be able to retain the trophy and win their 6th title. It all started well and went to plan for the reigning World Champions who kicked off their campaign against Croatia winning 1-0. Next up was the Aussies who went on to finish second in the group along side Brazil a 2-0 win for the Champions meant it was 2 wins from 2 and 6 points out of 6, going into the final game against Japan. A 4-1 win over Japan sealed top spot and maximum return meaning they would meet Ghana in the last 16. Brazil comfortably made it through to the last eight easing past Ghana 3-0 with goals from Ronaldo, Adriano and Za Roberto setting up a quarter-final tie against 1998 winners France. There was a shock as the Brazilians were unable to break down the French registering just one shot on target and were beaten by a Thierry Henry goal in the 57th minute. There was great disappointment with the team at home and around the world. Their defence had ended when many expected them to reach at least the semi-finals. The eventual winners of the competition were Italy beating France 5-3 on penalties.
The 2010 tournament made history as it was the first to be held in an African nation as South Africa played host to the competition. Italy were the defending Champions and unlike the previous two there was not great expectation that they would be bringing the trophy back home to Italy. Euro 2008 was not the best for the World Champions scraping through in a group that contained themselves, The Dutch, Romania and France, beating the latter to reach the quarter finals where they lost on penalties. That was preparation for even greater disappointment to come in South Africa. Italy were drawn in a group with Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay, a group they were predicted to come through with flying colours. It couldn’t have been more different. They opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Paraguay. This was followed up with a very disappointing 1-1 draw with New Zealand. However, they still had hope of reaching the last 16 a win against Slovakia would confirm a place in the last 16 but they were unable to do that after losing the game 3-2 meaning the Italians would finish bottom of their group with just 2 points meaning the defence of their title had ended at the first hurdle. Spain would go onto win their first World Cup beating The Netherlands 1-0 in the final.
The last World Cup in 2014 was held in Brazil the only nation to have won the tournament five times. Spain were the defending Champions and had won the previous three tournaments (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012). However, as with the Italians in 2010 there was realisation that the trophy would not be defended successfully as number of their golden generation had retired or were coming to the end of their international careers and it was going to be a transition tournament for the Spanish. They were seeded as the World’s number 1 team they were in a tough group that contained The Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Spain’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages were severally damaged after the first round of fixtures. They were beaten 5-1 by The Netherlands after taking a 1-0 lead. Defeat in the next game against Chile confirmed their elimination from the tournament after just two games. They ended their campaign with a 3-0 win over the Aussies. Following the end of the tournament there was massive changes to the Spanish team as a number of players retired and the manager left his post as Spain decided a new direction would be needed for Euro 2016. The eventual winners were Germany who beat hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals before beating Argentina 1-0 in the final, meaning for the first time a nation from the same continent had won the tournament 3 years running (Italy 2006, Spain 2010 and Germany 2014)
We now come to this summer’s tournament in Russia. Germany are the reigning Champions and ranked the world’s number 1 side. They don’t traditionally start tournaments well but doing what they need to do to win. However, in their first round of games they were beaten 1-0 by Mexico. Can they buck the trend of the last two holders and make it out of the group stages time will tell.
So as we come to the end of our look back at his the winners perform in the next tournament we can say that being the holders and ranked number 1 in the world can be more of a burden than a help. The title of ‘World Champions’ has only ever been retained by two countries Brazil and Italy.
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