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Germany join list of defending champions dumped out in group stage

By June 27, 2018No Comments

Germany have become the third successive nation to follow a World Cup triumph with a group-stage exit.

The 2014 champions, who beat hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals en route to claiming the trophy, are out after finishing behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea in Group F.

Here Press Association Sport looks at those reigning champions who have struggled in the following tournament.

1966 – Brazil

The 1966 World Cup is not fondly remembered by everyone. The Brazilians came to England hoping for a hat-trick of successes after triumphing in 1958 and 1962, which was the last time a team successfully defended their world crown. A team featuring Pele, Garrincha and Jairzinho beat Bulgaria but 3-1 losses to Hungary and Portugal resulted in a first-round exit. Four years on in Mexico, Brazil would again win the World Cup with arguably the greatest international team ever.

2002 – France

Germany join list of defending champions dumped out in group stage PLZ Soccer
France were shocked by Senegal in 2002 (Neal Simpson/EMPICS)

The first holders not to win a match in the next World Cup also failed to score a goal during a disastrous campaign in Japan and South Korea. France had won both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 but they were without their talisman Zinedine Zidane for their opening two games in 2002 and suffered a shock loss to Senegal to open the competition. A scoreless draw with Uruguay was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Denmark as Les Bleus put up a limp title defence.

2010 – Italy

Germany join list of defending champions dumped out in group stage PLZ Soccer
Fabio Canavaro and Italy were ousted in the group stage in 2010 (Mike Egerton/EMPICS)

The Italians, who had beaten France on penalties to win their fourth World Cup, appeared to have little to fear when they were drawn in a group with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia. Draws with Paraguay and New Zealand left the Azzurri on the brink, though, and Slovakia recorded a thrilling 3-2 victory in the final group game to ensure the Italians were eliminated in the opening stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1974.

2014 – Spain

Germany join list of defending champions dumped out in group stage PLZ Soccer
Spain had won three tournaments before arriving in Brazil (Nick Potts/EMPICS)

La Roja had won three successive major international tournaments when the tiki-taka technicians arrived in Brazil but the 2014 World Cup proved a step too far. Their title defence began with a catastrophic 5-1 loss to Holland – the team they had beaten in the 2010 final – and they were out two games in when Chile defeated Vicente Del Bosque’s men 2-0.

2018 – Germany

Die Mannschaft were not only the defending champions but they had won the Confederations Cup in Russia last summer with a team of reserves, and had cruised through World Cup qualifying without dropping a point. Having lost 1-0 to Mexico, Toni Kroos’ last-gasp winner against Sweden gave the Germans hope but Joachim Low’s men not only failed to get past South Korea but lost 2-0 to finish bottom of the pile in Group F.