#9 France 2002
France was riding high after winning the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, and given that they were placed in a relatively easy group with the likes of Denmark, Uruguay and newcomers Senegal, people expected them to go far. A knockout round place was a given, and many predicted them to go even further, as it seemed that nothing could stop the French on their way to the finals.
But that was not the case as the French were doomed from the start, as star player Zinedine Zidane suffered an injury during their pre-World Cup friendly and their hopes went down the drain. The Senegalese, playing their first ever World Cup, shocked the French and beat them 1-0 before a draw against Uruguay saw hopes increase. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, the French management rushed Zidane prematurely, to face Denmark in the final group stage game.
The former Real Madrid man was barely able to run, let alone create chances for his suddenly incompetent teammates, and they went out with a whimper, losing 2-0 to Denmark. France did end up making history as they became the very first defending champions to fail to score a single goal during their World Cup campaign.Published 28 Mar 2017, 09:24 IST