FIFA WC 2022 | Can France break the Champions jinx?

The FIFA World Cup has been a rollercoaster ride over the years as teams across the globe gather to make their mark on the tournament. 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup won’t be an exception as top talents gather to make their impression while teams like France, Argentina, and Brazil look to win the whole thing. While France will look to become the first team to defend the World Cup title in 60 years, they will have to be cautious of the champion’s jinx that has cost teams in the past.

What is the Champion’s Jinx?

While defending the World Cup crown is not an easy task, teams in recent years have come nowhere near it and have exited the tournament in the group stage. The last three World Cup winners have all exited the very next FIFA World Cup in the group stage raising question marks on whether France can avoid the jinx. A look back into recent tournaments will suggest that it is harder for the World Champions to get out of their group while the defense remains a long prospect.

Champions Jinx

YearChampionNext World Cup campaign
2014GermanyGroup Stage Exit
2010SpainGroup Stage Exit
2006ItalyGroup Stage Exit
2002BrazilKnockout Stage Exit
1998FranceGroup Stage Exit

Italy won the World Cup in 2006 but poorly faced elimination in South Africa in 2010; their win against France in the 2006 final is still their last knockout stage win in the tournament. Italy also faced elimination in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup and they have now failed to make the showpiece event in each of the last two tournaments.

2010 World Champions Spain also faced a brutal reality in the 2014 Brazil World Cup when they faced exit in the group stage. Paired up against Netherlands, Australia, and Chile, the World Champions looked down and out and faced the harsh reality as they finished third.

While Germany were again the favourites to win the competition, this was not to be the case as they too were eliminated in the group stage of the 2018 campaign having won the title in 2014. The likes of South Korea, Mexico, and Sweden were too hot to handle and faced exit.

Interestingly, this trend of Champion’s exit was started by defending champions France in 2002 as they exited the group stage having won the tournament in 1998 on home turf. In the last two decades Brazil, from the 2002 winning campaign, remains the only side not to face the group stage elimination having carried the champions tag.  

So it now remains to be seen whether France can break the jinx and also become the first team since Pele’s Brazil to defend their crown.

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