Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2022. 7:59 am CST.
Photo Credit: FIFA
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Word has been circulating that France avoided the ‘Curse of the Defending Champions’ by qualifying to the Round of 16 in the current FIFA World Cup being played in Qatar. For three consecutive World Cups, starting with Italy in 2010, the defending World Champions have bowed out during the first round.
Italy captured the title in 2006 and was eliminated in the group stage in 2010. The same happened to the 2010 Champions Spain in 2014 in Brazil, and the 2014 Champions Germany followed suit in Russia in 2018. Italy, if you may, is still looking for themselves having missed the last two World Cups, 2018 and now 2022. Germany is struggling at this very point and must beat Costa Rica but could still find themselves out in the first round again. Well, Spain seems to have found their way back, but first, they must secure their ticket on Thursday. A draw against Japan may be enough.
Not such bad luck for 2018 winners France who have made it to the second round after just two games. The French are playing like a well-oiled machine, despite losing N’golo Kante and Karim Benzema (even though the current Ballon d’Or was not part of the team in 2018 anyway). With Antoine Griezmann running the show, France are looking good.
They have one more game in the first round (today against Tunisia at 9:00 am) and then they move on. The question is how far will they go.
Should they finish first in Group D, as they are expected to, they’ll play the second-place team from Group C. That’s Argentina, Poland, Saudi Arabia or Mexico. Should they finish in second place, they’ll face the tops Group C team. That’ll be decided on Wednesday.
So, let’s see how they do after this.
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