World Cup curse: what’s the winning field and will France next pay the champions prize at Qatar 2022?

For decades, it was often the case that the team that won the last World Cup was seen as one of the favorites to win it again at the next edition, or at least make it to the final stages of the tournament.

However, in recent years we have seen a trend of teams failing spectacularly to defend their World Cup crowns.

It has happened so often that some believe there is a curse or curse on defending champions that prevents them from defending the World Championship

The sports news analyzes this “curse” and whether France is in danger of falling victim to it.

MORE: Which teams qualified for the 2022 World Cup

What is the Curse of the World Champion?

In Curse of the World Champion, the team that won the last World Cup fails in ignominious circumstances to defend their crown by not getting out of their group.

The first modern case of this ‘curse’ at play came at the 2002 World Cup, when France finished bottom of their group without scoring a single goal and also suffered a loss to tournament debutants Senegal.

Italy, winners in 2006, were next and are the most extreme example of the curse after failing to emerge from a weak group in 2010. In 2014 they fell at the same stage and failed to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 editions of the tournament.

Spain, champions of 2010, shocked the world in 2014 when they lost 5-1 and 2-0 to the Netherlands and Chile respectively, ending their golden era of international football.

Germany, winners in 2014, finished last in their group in 2018. After losing their opening game 1-0 to Mexico, a 2-0 defeat by South Korea gave them their worst World Cup result ever.

How long has the World Cup curse been around?

The curse began in 2002 when France failed to defend its crown. By then only one team had failed to reach the second round of the tournament and that was Uruguay in 1934, who refused to travel to a European World Cup.

Brazil have been the only team to escape the curse since 2002, reaching the quarter-finals in 2006 before losing to a star-studded French outfit.

edition defending champion recording
(WDL)
goal difference stage eliminated
2002 France 0-1-2 -3 group stage
2006 Brazil 4-0-1 +8 quarter finals
2010 Italy 0-2-1 -1 group stage
2014 Spain 1-0-2 -3 group stage
2018 Germany 1-0-2 -2 group stage

France World Cup injuries

France is trying to avoid being hit by . the curse for a second time as they defend their crown in Qatar, but their form and injury list suggest the hex is starting earlier than normal.

Midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba and goalkeeper Mike Maignan are both injured.

And injury woes continued as the team landed in country, with defender Presnel Kimpembe and exciting attacker Christopher Nkunku forced to withdraw from the squad after picking up injuries.

Star striker Karim Benzema also has a possible head injury, the Ballon d’Or winner has missed many games for club Real Madrid and it is questionable whether he will be fully fit for the opening game.

MORE: France’s injuries for FIFA World Cup 2022

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France World Cup Schedule

France begin their group stage against Australia in Al Wakrah on November 22, meet Denmark in Doha on November 26 and finish the group against Tunisia in Al Rayyan on November 30.

The encounters with the Danes and Socceroos are repeats of their 2018 group stage encounters, which each ended in a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 win.

France also faced Denmark in last season’s UEFA Nations League but lost both games against the Danes, giving Didier Deschamps pause before Qatar.



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