World Cup 2018: 3 teams who held the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship at the same time

Portugal are the current European champions
Sanchit Grover

With the onset of FIFA World Cup 2018, let’s consider the predicaments the teams and the players have to undergo to win this extravagant tournament.

Between 32 teams, only one will hold the cup and the others would wait for another quadrennial to pass and compete again for the glory.

Portugal have started the tournament on a high note with a 3-3 draw against Spain before beating Morocco 1-0 in Moscow. Cristiano Ronaldo has been the main man all the way, scoring Portugal's each and every goal at this point.

With Portugal looking impressive, it makes us wonder if Cristiano Ronaldo could guide Portugal to their first ever World Cup victory.

Can the 5 time Ballon d'Or winner get the FIFA trophy home to make Portugal only the fourth team in history to hold both the European Championship and World Cup at the same time?

Being labelled as the defending champions of Europe is prestigious. Only a handful of nations have had the opportunity to be called one.

Stakes increase in a world cup and so does the appreciation. Bringing World Cup glory to your nation solidifies your status as an all-time great. Thus we wonder how must it feel to hold both these major honours at the same time.

How rewarding and notable it is to hoist your flag in both the prime championships, to have the title of the most honoured tournaments and to be set apart distinctively and with deference.

Portugal will have to play out of their skins to become the fourth nation on this list. But it is too soon to think about it. Over the years only 3 teams have held the two top tournaments at the same time, thus showing what level of consistency, determination and luck is needed to be called the defending champions of Europe and defending champions of the World at the same time.

Here we look at the 3 teams who held the European Championship and the FIFA World Cup at the same time.

#1 West Germany - 1972 European Championship winners and 1974 World Cup winners

West German champions

West Germany became the first team in history to hold both the European Championship and FIFA World Cup at the same time.

They won the UEFA European Championship in 1972 with the hero of the game being Gerd Müller who scored both the goals in the semifinal against Belgium and 2 out of 3 against the Soviet Union in final. West Germany claimed their first European title.

In 1974 a Gerd Muller led West German side managed to defy all the odds to win their 2nd World title.

The legendary striker who plied his trade for Bayern Munich at club level inspired his team to win their 2nd World Cup and become the first side in history to hold both UEFA Euro Championship and the FIFA World Cup at the same time.

The German side comprising of Gerd Muller, the legendary Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes and Franz Beckenbauer as their skipper have their names written in the history books courtesy of their consistent showing at 2 of the most prestigious tournaments in the world

#2 France - 1998 FIFA World Cup winners and Euro 2000 Champions

France - Zidane and company conquered the world

In 1998 a dynamic French side with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry led France to their first world title. In doing so France became the sixth nation to be crowned world champions on home soil.

Didier Deschamps captained a rampant France side all the way as they went undefeated on their path to the final where Zidane inspired his side to a 3-0 victory over mighty Brazil with 2 goals to his name.

France carried their mesmerizing form to Belgium and Netherlands in Euro 2000. They defeated Italy in the final to claim their 2nd Euro title. France became only the 2nd team in history to hold both major championships at the same time.

The French side captained by Didier Deschamps won the semi-final against Portugal virtue of the golden goal scored by Zinedine Zidane who was named the best player of the tournament.

They did it again in the final against Italy with David Trezeguet scoring the golden goal to win France's 2nd Euro title.

#3 Spain - 2008 & 2012 European Championship winners and 2010 FIFA World Cup winners

Spain conquered the world with their brand of beautiful football

Perhaps the one on everyone’s mind after reading the heading. The most recent one and still fresh in the memory of football fans around the globe.

Spain became the first team to win 2 successive European championships in 2012 when they beat Italy in the final.

Spain had been a dominant force in world football much before that as they won the 2008 Euro Championship and then the FIFA World Cup in 2010 to become the third nation ever to hold both titles at the same time.

A young Spanish side with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Fernando Torres won Spain their 2nd European title in 2008 when they defeated Germany in the final courtesy of a Fernando Torres goal.

Spain took their scintillating form to South Africa in 2010 where they won their first FIFA World Cup. Despite losing their 1st group match to Switzerland, Spain won the tournament.

It was the first a team had won the world cup despite losing their opening fixture. Spain met the Netherlands in an all European final in South Africa for the prestigious FIFA World Cup title. Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal as Spain claimed their first World title.

La Roja didn’t stop there as they successfully defended their Euro title in 2012.

Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.


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