When Germany needs a win, they know how to form a formidable attack line that no defending team dares to fight. But what happened when they played South Korea on June 27th? Their only chance to make it through to the round of 16 was shattered by a goal during injury time and then minutes later another that many would consider a case of “adding insult to injury”. After holding the title of World Cup Champions for four years since 2014, the Germans walked out of the Kazan Arena with their tales between their legs. But is this the first case of such a tragic loss for the reigning champions of a World Cup? The answer is no… absolutely not.
France 1998 World Cup Champions
France met 1994 champions, Brazil, in the final at the Stade de France, in Paris in 1998. The world watched with bated breath as France took to the final for the first time in history. They were up against the same team that had defeated Italy in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout in 1994. With the likes of Ronaldo and Rivaldo on the pitch, French fans were nervous about the outcome of the game, but the fans would play a pivotal part in the 3-0 win France would pull off, making them the World Cup Champions for the first time in history. But all that hype and excitement died in 2002 in Japan and Korea. France drew 0-0 with Uruguay, lost 0-2 to Denmark and even conceded one goal to Senegal, leaving them with one point at the end of the group stage.
Italy 2006 World Cup Champions
Doubts were running high for Italy when they entered the 2006 World Cup in Germany. At the previous competition, they failed miserably to make an impression. Italy ended up leaving the tournament before ever seeing the round of 16. Even with a spell of two red cards in their first four games, Italy pushed on to beat Ukraine, Germany and finally France in a heart-pounding penalty shootout that ended with Italy claiming their fourth World Cup Champions’ title. South Africa 2010 however was nothing like 2006. They drew to both Paraguay and New Zealand, but lost to Slovakia, leaving them with a measly 2 points and an early ticket back home.
Spain 2010 World Cup Champions
South Africa 2010 was an interesting World Cup. It was the first time in history that the hosts didn’t make it past the group stage. Spain lost their first game 0-1 against Switzerland, but after that, it was all green for go for Spain. They beat Honduras 2-0 and then Chile 2-1. From there, Spain smoothly took 1-0 victories over every opponent in the knockout stage, including Holland in the final. But the World Cup Champions lost it all in Brazil in 2014. Even though they beat Australia 3-0 in their final group game, they had lost a devastating 5-1 loss to Holland and 0-2 to Chile. With only 3 points, they exited the competition with Australia, before the round of 16.
Germany 2014 World Cup Champions
Germany stunned the world with an exaggerated victory (7-1) over Brazil at the semi-finals… in Brazil. From there they went on to beat Alejandro Sabella’s Argentinian side 1-0 in the second half of extra time in the final. Heads raised high, the Germans gloriously claimed their 4th World Cup victory, and quickly became the favorites to win again at Russia 2018. That was the dream until their opening game against Mexico who beat them 1-0. They defeated Sweden 2-1, giving them hopes of seeing the round of 16. But then South Korea blew everyone away with a 2-0 win, knocking Germany out of the competition. Amazingly the last time Germany left the World Cup during the group stages was back in 1938, and following that the World Cup didn’t happen again until 1950.
Is It A Real Curse?
Now everyone is wondering if there really is a curse on the World Cup Champions. To clarify, this “curse” has only had an effect on European world champions. Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina have all won the competition, but have never seen embarrassing exits like that of their European counterparts. To conclude, we don’t actually know if a curse exists, but what we do know is that when Germany gets kicked out of the group stages, we ought to prepare ourselves.