She will be in the sights of the 31 other selections. The France team is playing the World Cup in Qatar in the shoes of the reigning champion, four years after its success against Croatia in Russia (4-2). The Blues of Didier Deschamps will therefore have to defend their title, and it is not easy. In the history of the competition, only two teams have managed to retain their title: Italy in 1938 and Brazil in 1962. However during the last three editions, the defending champion has each time been eliminated in the phase of groups. A misadventure that the Blues have already experienced in 2002, in South Korea and Japan. Europe 1 takes stock of the results of the various “defending champions” in the World Cup.
They retained their title: Italy and Brazil
In the infancy of the competition, Italy, then in the midst of the rise of fascism, managed to lift the trophy twice in a row. Four years after their first title won at home in 1934, under the eyes of Benito Mussolini, the Squadra Azzurra then led by striker Giuseppe Meazza did it again in France in 1938 against Hungary in the final (4-2). The Italian selection is therefore the first to have won the trophy twice consecutively.
More than ten years after the Second World War, Pelé’s Brazil also marks the history of the event. For his first World Cup, in 1958, the then 17-year-old striker splashed the world of football with his talent and allowed his people to triumph in Sweden. In 1962, in Chile, the Seleção once again reached the final and won the final match, against Czechoslovakia (3-1). It is to this day the last nation to have succeeded in preserving its property.
They were finalists: Argentina and Brazil
Diego Maradona’s Argentina came very close to joining the above category in 1990. After defeating West Germany four years earlier, the Albiceleste suffered the law of the Germans who took their revenge in the final of the following edition in Italy (1-0). The blue and white selection also fails to lift the trophy for the third time in twelve years. A feat that only Brazil has in its history, between 1958 and 1970.
The Seleção, precisely, was also a finalist four years after a victory in the World Cup. In 1994, Brazil won the final against Italy after penalties (0-0, 3-2 on pens), before experiencing disappointment at the Stade de France in 1998 against Les Bleus (3-0) . However, Ronaldo and his partners raised their heads four years later against Germany in South Korea (2-0) to win the fifth and for the moment last star of the Seleção, which could therefore have won the competition three times consecutively.
They went out in the first round: France, Italy, Spain and Germany
Since the beginning of the 2000s, they are four reigning world champion nations to have been eliminated in the group stages of the following edition. This is first the case of the Blues, world champions in 1998. After two prestigious successes, at the 1998 World Cup and then at Euro 2000, Zinédine Zidane and his teammates experienced a nightmarish tournament in South Korea and Japan. in 2002 (one draw, two defeats).
The same mishap happened to the last three defending champions. In 2010, Italy, which had won the final of the 2006 edition against the French team, also fell into the group stage, finishing in last place in its group (two draws, one defeat). Spain, having won its first star in South Africa, similarly defeated Brazil in 2014 to be eliminated in the first round (one win, two losses). Finally, the Germans, world champions for the fourth time, also took the door in Russia very early (one victory, two defeats). A recent “winner’s curse” which the Blues will have to be wary of in Qatar.
World Cup 2022: how many teams have managed to retain their championship title?