3 teams who won the World Cup despite losing their opening match
FIFA World Cup 2018 started with a bang as hosts Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Moscow. Every team has played at least 1 match by now and we’re already in the World Cup groove. With Portugal and Spain's 3-3 thriller to Mexico's win over defending champions Germany, the World Cup has given us plenty to talk about already.
Argentina drew with Iceland despite recording the most attempts by a team in a single match of this world cup. Lionel Messi failed to score from the penalty spot meaning Argentina couldn’t go past Iceland. The draw was disappointing for the two times world cup winners with the number of chances they had to put the game to bed.
Brazil started their match on high versus Switzerland with a classic Coutinho goal from outside the box but Steven Zuber equalized in the 50th minute to spoil the Brazilian party.
Elsewhere, England won in a dramatic fashion against Tunisia with Harry Kane scoring in the 91st minute to take 3 points for his team.
But with so many top teams failing to win their first match, their fans are anxious knowing the importance of starting out the tournament with a victory. Every point counts in the group stage and all these teams will be thinking about these dropped points right now.
But it isn’t just about the points. Confidence rides on victories and shock defeats really dampen a team’s confidence. In 3 out of previous 4 World Cups, the defending champions crashed out in the group stage and one thing which was common between all of them was their inability to win their first group stage match. Germany will hope to avoid being part of that list despite losing opening fixture to Mexico.
Despite history not favouring them, there still is something to count on for their fans as in the past, there have been 3 times when a team managed to lift the World Cup despite not winning their opening game. The numbers aren’t encouraging but still where there's a will there’s a way.
Here are the 3 world cup triumphs accomplished despite failing to win their opening fixture.
England in 1966
The only time English team won the world cup was in 1966. Over the years England have been amongst the favourites on many occasions but failed to live up to the hype. Many people believe the golden generation comprising of David Beckham, Paul schools, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerard, Wayne Rooney the list continues should have had some success at the FIFA world cup.
But quarterfinals is the best England have managed for the past 20 years.
The 1966 World Cup was hosted in England with 16 teams participating for the finals. England, West Germany, Portugal and Soviet Union reached the semi-finals where England defeated Portugal 2-1 and West Germany prevailed over the Soviet Union with a similar scoreline to set up a monumental final. England vs West Germany was a memorable final with Geoff Hurst scoring twice in extra time to make England the champions of the world. Hurst scored a hat-trick in the final which is the only time a hat-trick was scored in the final of a World Cup.
This was the first time a team had won a World Cup despite not winning its first match. England squared off against Uruguay in their opening fixture which ended in a draw.
England also became just the third nation to win the World Cup in their own country after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934. This to date remains England's best footballing memory.