Five similarities between the 2018 and 2002 World Cups
The 2018 World Cup came to an end last night, and with it came a lot of thrills, upsets, stunning goals and wild emotions.
The 2018 World Cup had a lot of innovations, chief of which was the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Fourth substitutes were also allowed in extra time and the world cup set a number of records, including for penalties awarded and own goals scored.
France won their second world title after defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final. The 2018 World Cup had some striking resemblances with the 2002 edition jointly hosted by Korea and Japan, below I present the 5 most striking similarities.
#1 The defending champions losing opening game and being knocked out in group stages
Heading into the 2002 World Cup as favourites, Les Bleus were the defending champions after Zinedine Zidane's heroics inspired them to a maiden World Cup win on home soil in 1998. They were also European champions and paraded the top goalscorers in three of Europe's major leagues; Thierry Henry (Premier League), David Trezeguet (Serie A) and Djibril Cisse (Ligue One), but they failed to score a single goal in the competition.
The French shockingly lost their opening game 1-0 to debutants Senegal, drew the next 0-0 against Uruguay and capped off their shambolic performance with a 2-0 loss to Denmark, becoming the first defending champions to be eliminated from the group stages.
In similar fashion, the Germans came into the 2018 World Cup as defending champions, they lost their opening game 1-0 to Mexico and bowed out of the tournament after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea.
It was the first time Germany had ever been eliminated at the World Cup in the group stages (the 1938 edition only featured knockout matches and no group stage) and halted their run of at least getting to the World Cup quarter final since 1954 (the 1978 edition had a second group stage for qualified teams).