How Have Defending Champions Fared in FIFA World Cup History?


How have defending champs fared in FIFA World Cup history? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Qatar may be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but France also garnered plenty of attention.

After winning the 2018 World Cup final 4-2 against Croatia, Les Bleus were back in the fold in 2022 and looking to repeat for their third ever title in the tournament. However, their quest for back-to-back titles ended in heartbreaking fashion.

Let’s take a look back at all previous World Cup winners and how they fared four years later:

1930 winners: Uruguay

Next result: 1934 – Uruguay boycotted the tournament hosted by Italy due to few European teams accepting invitations to compete in the 1930 tournament it hosted.

1934 winners: Italy

Next result: 1938 – Italy defended its 1934 win by beating Hungary 4-2 in the final.

1938 winners: Italy

Next result: 1950 – World War II canceled the 1942 and 1946 tournaments, but Italy did not make it out of the group in this edition.

1950 winners: Uruguay

Next result: 1954 – Uruguay finished in fourth place after losing 4-2 to Hungary in the semis and 3-1 to Austria in the third-place game.

1954 winners: West Germany

Next result: 1958 – West Germany finished in fourth place after losing 3-1 to Sweden in the semis and 6-3 to France in the third-place game.

1958 winners: Brazil

Next result: 1962 – Brazil won the title for a second straight time after beating Czechoslovakia (now split into two countries) 3-1.

1962 winners: Brazil

Next result: 1966 – Brazil finished third place in its group behind Portugal and Hungary.

1966 winners: England

Next result: 1970 – England lost in the quarterfinals 3-2 to West Germany.

1970 winners: Brazil

Next result: 1974 – Brazil lost to Poland 1-0 in the third-place play-off.

1974 winners: West Germany

Next result: 1978 – West Germany finished third in its group behind the Netherlands and Italy.

1978 winners: Argentina

Next result: 1982 – Argentina finished third in the second group stage behind Italy and Brazil.

1982 winners: Italy

Next result: 1986 – Italy lost 2-0 to France in the Round of 16.

1986 winners: Argentina

Next result: 1990 – Argentina nearly repeated but lost 1-0 to West Germany in the final.

1990 winners: West Germany

Next result: 1994 – After West Germany and East Germany merged into one in 1990, the nation, now reintegrated as Germany (DFB), lost 2-1 to Bulgaria in the quarters.

1994 winners: Brazil

Next result: 1998 – Brazil came close to repeating but lost 3-0 to France in the final. 

1998 winners: France

Next result: 2002 – France finished last in its group behind Denmark, Senegal and Uruguay.

2002 winners: Brazil

Next result: 2006 – Brazil lost 1-0 to France in the quarters. 

2006 winners: Italy

Next result: 2010 – Italy finished last in its group behind Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.

2010 winners: Spain

Next result: 2014 – After winning its first ever World Cup, Spain followed it up with a third-place group finish behind Netherlands and Chile.

2014 winners: Germany

Next result: 2018 – Germany finished last in its group behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.

2018 winners: France

Next result: 2022 – France lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout in the final despite Kylian Mbappé’s hat trick.

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