The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

Group B was figured to be the Group of Death Part 1. The defending world and European champions were drawn with the team they beat in the final in South Africa, plus the South American upstart Chile. Australia was the sacrificial lamb. But as we’ve seen over the last week, the emperor was essentially naked. The Netherlands got their revenge for 2010 but hanging 5 goals on Iker Casillas, Pepe got himself tossed like an idiot, and Chile’s pressing attack knocked the reigning champs from the tournament. In that spirit, I went in search of how well defending champions fared in their next World Cup. After 15 minutes on Wikipedia, the results came up mixed.

Tournament Champion Next Tourney Result
1930 Uruguay 1934 Did not participate
1934 Italy 1938 Champions
1938 Italy 1950 Round 1, 1-0-1
1950 Uruguary 1954 4th place, 1-3 Austria
1954 West Germany 1958 Semi-finals, 1-3 Sweden
1958 Brazil 1962 Champions
1962 Brazil 1966 Group Stage, 1-0-2
1966 England 1970 Quarterfinal, 2-3 West Germany a.e.t.
1970 Brazil 1974 4th place, 0-1 Poland
1974 West Germany 1978 2nd Round: 0-2-1, 1st Round: 1-2-0
1978 Argentina 1982 2nd Round: 0-0-2, 1st round: 2-0-1
1982 Italy 1986 Round of 16: 0-2 France
1986 Argentina 1990 Runners-Up: 0-1 West Germany
1990 West Germany 1994 Quarterfinals: 1-2 Bulgaria
1994 Brazil 1998 Runners-Up: 0-3 France
1998 France 2002 Group Stage: 0-1-2, only defending champ
to not score a goal in defense
2002 Brazil 2006 Quarterfinals: 0-1 France
2006 Italy 2010 Group Stage: 0-2-1
2010 Spain 2014 Group State: 0-0-2 (vs. AUS, 6/23)

So La Furia Roja has company that failed badly in their defense of the World Cup. They are, however, the first defending Cup champion to lose their first 2 group games. Plus, the way Australia has played, a victory next week is far from a guarantee. It would be quite the feather in the Socceroos cap to head home with a win over Spain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>