How have defending champs fared in FIFA World Cup history? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Qatar may be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but France will also garner plenty of attention.
After winning the 2018 World Cup final 4-2 against Croatia, Les Bleus are back in the fold in 2022 and are looking to repeat for their third ever title in the tournament.
Though manager Didier Deschamps couldn’t call up star midfielders like N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea) and Paul Pogba (Juventus) – who were immense in the 2018 run – due to respective lower-body injuries, the young Real Madrid midfield duo of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga could take the mantle in Qatar.
Can France – in Group D with Denmark, Australia and Tunisia – repeat as champs in 2022? In the last 21 tournaments, only two nations have achieved the feat.
Let’s take a look back at all previous World Cup winners and how they fared four years later:
1930 winners: Uruguay
Next result: 1934 – Uruguay boycotted the tournament hosted by Italy due to few European teams accepting invitations to compete in the 1930 tournament it hosted.
1934 winners: Italy
Next result: 1938 – Italy defended its 1934 win by beating Hungary 4-2 in the final.
1938 winners: Italy
Next result: 1950 – World War II canceled the 1942 and 1946 tournaments, but Italy did not make it out of the group in this edition.
1950 winners: Uruguay
Next result: 1954 – Uruguay finished in fourth place after losing 4-2 to Hungary in the semis and 3-1 to Austria in the third-place game.
1954 winners: West Germany
Next result: 1958 – West Germany finished in fourth place after losing 3-1 to Sweden in the semis and 6-3 to France in the third-place game.
1958 winners: Brazil
Next result: 1962 – Brazil won the title for a second straight time after beating Czechoslovakia (now split into two countries) 3-1.
1962 winners: Brazil
Next result: 1966 – Brazil finished third place in its group behind Portugal and Hungary.
1966 winners: England
Next result: 1970 – England lost in the quarterfinals 3-2 to West Germany.
1970 winners: Brazil
Next result: 1974 – Brazil lost to Poland 1-0 in the third-place play-off.
1974 winners: West Germany
Next result: 1978 – West Germany finished third in its group behind the Netherlands and Italy.
1978 winners: Argentina
Next result: 1982 – Argentina finished third in the second group stage behind Italy and Brazil.
1982 winners: Italy
Next result: 1986 – Italy lost 2-0 to France in the Round of 16.
1986 winners: Argentina
Next result: 1990 – Argentina nearly repeated but lost 1-0 to West Germany in the final.
1990 winners: West Germany
Next result: 1994 – After West Germany and East Germany merged into one in 1990, the nation, now reintegrated as Germany (DFB), lost 2-1 to Bulgaria in the quarters.
1994 winners: Brazil
Next result: 1998 – Brazil came close to repeating but lost 3-0 to France in the final.
1998 winners: France
Next result: 2002 – France finished last in its group behind Denmark, Senegal and Uruguay.
2002 winners: Brazil
Next result: 2006 – Brazil lost 1-0 to France in the quarters.
2006 winners: Italy
Next result: 2010 – Italy finished last in its group behind Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.
2010 winners: Spain
Next result: 2014 – After winning its first ever World Cup, Spain followed it up with a third-place group finish behind Netherlands and Chile.
2014 winners: Germany
Next result: 2018 – Germany finished last in its group behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.
2018 winners: France
Next result: 2022 – TBD