Typically, when each edition of the FIFA World Cup starts, the world champions are typically one of the favourites to win the next tournament, however, it often doesn’t go to plan, hence why in this article we are discussing the ‘World Cup Champions Curse’.
Only two sides, in general, have ever retained the World Cup, in the shapes of Italy and Brazil, with the former doing so in 1934 and 1938, whilst Brazil did in 1958 and 1962 with inspiration coming from the likes of Pele and Garrincha.
As far as World Cup winners go, the last world champions to make it out of the group stages was 2002 winners Brazil, as they reached the quarter-finals in 2006 where they were knocked out by France.
2006 winners Italy exited at the group stages in 2010. On top of this, 2010 champions Spain exited at the same point which includes their memorable 5-1 loss to the Netherlands, while 2014 winners Germany also crashed out at the group stages in 2018 in a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.
France themselves know all about the world champions curse, as they were famously knocked out at the group stages in 2002 after winning the World Cup for the first time in 1998, earning just one point in Group A of that tournament following 1-0 and 2-0 losses to Senegal and Denmark, whilst only managing a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.