France will look to follow in the footsteps of Brazil and Italy and be just the third country to ever retain the World Cup title when Qatar hosts the 2022 edition of the Fifa competition.
Has the World Cup ever been retained?
Brazil and Italy are the only countries to ever previously win the World Cup in back-to-back tournaments. Uruguay hosted and won the maiden edition in 1930, but failed to retain the title four years later as Italy welcomed the world before edging Czechoslovakia in the final.
Italy again made the final and won four years later in France, overcoming Hungary before a 44 year wait for the Azzurri’s third of four successes. Brazil, meanwhile, won three of the in-between eight editions, with titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – split by England in 1966.
The Three Lions’ interrupting the Selecao’s run has also ensured no country has won back-to-back World Cups since 1962. The Netherlands (1974, ’78), West Germany (‘82, ’86, ‘90), Argentina (‘86, ’90) and Brazil (’94, ’98, 2002) have featured in successive finals, though.
Recent World Cup winners’ records at next tournament
France will arrive in Qatar as the defending World Cup champions with Denmark, Peru and Australia in Group C. Les Bleus will target better fortunes than 2014 winners Germany had in 2018, as Die Mannschaft crashed out bottom of Group F with three points from nine.
Spain also failed to get out of the group stage as the defending champions in 2014, as the 2010 winners finished third in Group B behind the Netherlands and Chile. Italy, meanwhile, won it in 2006, and followed their success by ending the 2010 group stage last in Group A.
Brazil as 2002 champions were the last World Cup winners to progress beyond the group stage in the following edition. The Selecao reached the quarter-finals of the 2006 edition in Germany, before losing 1-0 to France via a 57th-minute Thierry Henry goal in Frankfurt.