The national sides that were unable to live up to their big names in the previous editions of FIFA World Cups.
Throughout the history of the World Cup, there have been numerous matches that paired the world’s greatest sides against one another. If the bigger sides were up against smaller teams, it was expect to see an easy and expected win.
However, at other times audiences were able to witness shocks and upsets happen at football’s most prestigious tournament. Despite maintaining a plethora of great and well-known players, teams have shown that possessing that unique element is not always enough.
In fact, history has shown that big teams can at times get knocked out of the tournament with relative ease, causing great disappointment for the respective nations.
After appointing Italian manager Fabio Capello in 2008, The English FA expected to see some great results at the World Cup in South Africa. The qualifying lead up to the World Cup saw England dominate and finish top of the group with great results.
However, the tournament itself proved to be quite a handful for England. In the group, they were paired with United States, Slovenia and Algeria, therefore many expected them to swipe through their opponents with great ease. However that did not prove so.
They gave a lackluster performance in the first two group matches, as they barely managed to scrape past the US with a 1-1 result, while against Algeria they drew blanks, since the final result stood at 0-0.
Their third and final match of the group would show if they are to proceed to the knockout stage of the World Cup. A single goal was recorded during the match, which gave England the sufficient amount of points to proceed to the next round. They finished off their group second, behind the US.
In the last 16, England faced Germany, which marked the match that sparked great controversy, as England was denied a goal by Frank Lampard, as the ball clearly passed the goal line, however the refs at the time decided to cancel it out.
However, even with the disallowed goal, England performed poorly against the mighty Germans that eventually ended the tournament third. Online sportsbooks in UK
did not predict England’s great demise, as they were crushed 4-1, with goals from Klose, Podolski and two from the young Muller.
At the tournament in Korea and Japan, France were the defending champions having won the World Cup in their native country in 1998. In 2002, the squad still featured much of the same players from the previous World Cup, while also including new players that were coming of the right age.
Even still, the team showcased a France that was rather unrecognizable, as they didn’t show the same footballing level from four years prior.
They were put in the same group as Denmark, Senegal and Uruguay. In their first game against Senegal, France experienced a shock defeat that reverberated throughout the world. The defending champions lost 1-0 against a team that many believed to be far inferior in every aspect of the game, however they managed to pull off a surprise.
In the next game, France faced Uruguay that was led by the fearsome Diego Forlan. The match again did not give the French side much needed points, as they were held to a goalless draw against the South Americans.
Their third and final fixture against Denmark finished them off completely, as the Danish gave a solid performance beating the French 2-0.
It’s quite ironic that previous world champions end up at the bottom of the group, but that’s what happened to France, as they headed home early in the tournament, even though having some of the best player in World Cup history.
France is not the only country that has endured a horrible effort to defending their World Cup title. Italy managed to scoop the title in 2006 Germany, while in South Africa 2010, the team did not emulate their old form.
• England couldn’t get past the great Germans
• France relinquished hopes of retaining the title early in 2002
• Italy disappointed with a poor results in Africa 2010
In 2010 they lacked the winning mentality that saw them capture the title four years prior. Although some of the squad has changed by then, they still possessed some lethal players that could cause havoc to the opposition.
Italy formed a group with Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand. Although at first glance the group seemed easy for the current champions, it proved to be quite the opposite. Their first game run in came against Paraguay. The match was rather disappointing for the Italians, as they were not able to produce a fine opening performance, as it finished 1-1.
Their next challenge came against New Zealand, which just like with Paraguay, Italy stalled, as the team was unable to overcome a team that did not have a strong footballing history and the vast experience in the tournament. The game ended 1-1.
Their last game in the group was also their last chance to qualify for the next round, and many mobile betting firms predicted an unlikely win. Slovakia was equipped with some attacking talent that Italy was not able to neutralize.
The blues fought hard until the dying minutes of the game, but as the final score stood at 3-2. All of their hopes were dashed and they were sent back home packing.
The upcoming World Cup in Brazil will show us the world once again what can be achieved and what countries will bring out disappointing performances. Hopefully, this time around, England will provide a better show for the fans than it did four years ago, considering their immense portfolio of star names.
Italy may in fact prove to be a surprise at the tournament, as many critics do not expect them to proceed beyond the group stage, just like four years ago. France on the other hand, does not possess that fearsome element it used to evoke in opponents.
However, all eyes will be on Brazil, as many expect them to succeed and reach far in the tournament. For this reason, it may a good idea for some supporters to switch allegiance to the Brazil team, for the duration of the World Cup, as they will most likely not disappoint.