Football: Here’s why France has almost no chance of winning the World Cup
SoccerHere’s why France has almost no chance of winning the World Cup
Only Giuseppe Meazza’s Italy and Pelé’s Brazil have achieved the feat of retaining their world title: the quest for a double is enough to scare France, who hopes to avoid the curse of the defending champion at the World Cup- 2022.
More than an ultimate challenge, winning two world titles in a row is almost a miracle, according to recent statistics. The last three world champions can attest to this: all were eliminated in the group stage when defending their crown. In 2018, Germany fell in the last match against South Korea (2-0), leaving the Russian World Cup after an inaugural defeat against Mexico (1-0) and an unexpected success against Sweden (2-1).
Four years earlier, the Spaniards experienced a terrible return to earth, after having dominated the football planet for many years (two Euros, a World Cup): against the Netherlands, La Roja fell apart (5-1), then loses any chance of qualifying after another defeat against Chile (2-0).
Already in 2010, Italy had given this bad example, leaving the South African World Cup without panache, probably too old to hope for better. Two draws against Paraguay and New Zealand (1-1 each time), then a 3-2 defeat against Slovakia condemn the partners of Fabio Cannavaro.
Faced with this curse, the coach of the Blues Didier Deschamps prefers to smile. “You want to cheer me up, right?” he jokes in May 2022, when these figures are submitted to him. “I know, statistically it’s not too much in our favor. But I don’t rely on statistics. It is fact that the title holder is rather complicated for him, because it is the high level, because the opponents do not sleep.
60 years of bad luck
To avoid this misfortune, is there a miracle recipe? A careful balance between reigning champions and young wolves? “If the question is whether it is better to recall 6.7, 9 or 15 world champions four years later, I do not do so according to these criteria. Some took 15 and it didn’t work, others took 9 and it didn’t work either,” smiled Deschamps.
Indeed, Vincente Del Bosque had chosen to recall 16 Spanish world champions in 2014, while Joachim Löw had decided to rejuvenate the workforce in 2018 with only 9 players present four years earlier. For the Blues, another memory calls for caution. On top of the world in 1998 and of Europe in 2000, Zinédine Zidane’s France came out the back door in 2002, with a final setback against… Denmark (2-0), whom they found in Qatar .
To achieve the double, you have to be called Giuseppe Meazza, with Italy in 1934 then 1938, or Pelé, in 1958 and 1962… Sixty years later, can Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann ward off fate?