FIFA World Cup: Instances when title-holders didn't qualify for knock-outs
The FIFA World Cup 2018 continues to enthral fans with minnows upsetting the giants. Tonight, when 2014 edition winners Germany lock horns with Sweden, they face a possibility of bowing out of the tournament. Germany have already lost against Mexico and a defeat tonight will seal their fate. Here we look at previous instances, where holders didn't qualify for knock-outs in the next edition.
2006 World Cup champions Italy were placed alongside Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay in Group F. The European giants started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Paraguay. They were held by New Zealand in the next game in an another 1-1 affair. Italy needed to beat Slovakia in order to progress. Robert Vittek scored a brace to stun the Italians, who lost 2-3.
European giants France started their campaign with a shocking 0-1 loss against Senegal. They came out strong as they drew against Uruguay next. However, in their last group-match, they lost 0-2 against Denmark. One point from three matches saw France face an early exit. The match against Senegal was the turning point. Papa Bouba Diop's solitary goal bruised France, which then became a calamity.
2010 champions Spain came into the 2014 edition in South Africa as the favorites. The side had also won the 2012 European Championships to show their dominance. But the Netherlands thrashed Spain 5-1 in the opener and then South American giants Chile stunned them 2-0. Two losses in the first two games ended their campaign. They had a consolation 3-0 win against Australia next.
Germany will look to avoid similar fate on Saturday when they take on Sweden in a crucial Group F encounter. Joachim Low's side have won the Confederations Cup besides the 2014 World Cup and are still regarded as one of the favorites of this edition.