We take a look at 5 teams that were expected to perform well at the FIFA World Cup but ended up getting knocked out of the tournament at a very early stage. These teams consisted of star players and had everything required to go for glory but were unable to make a mark in the tournament due to several reasons such as injuries, off-field controversies, tactical failures etc.
The beautiful game never fails to surprise us as World Cup teams that looked potential contenders to lift the trophy were at times humbled by sides that had no big names in their squads. These 5 teams proved that anything is possible in football and when it comes to the greatest stage no team is to be considered an 'easy' opponent.
The FIFA World Cup provides each team with an equal opportunity and often teams that are considered weak on paper end up upsetting the football giants and make us all fall in love with this beautiful sport.
#5 France (2010 FIFA World Cup)
The French team reached the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the most controversial way possible. France played against the Republic of Ireland in the play-off round and after a 1-1 aggregate scoreline in the two-legged tie, the game went into extra time. In 103rd minute of the game, a free kick was delivered into the box by Florent Malouda which was handled by Thierry Henry twice before he passed it on his right to William Gallas who headed the ball into the net and ensured France a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
France began their 2010 World Cup campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Uruguay. After the game, former captain of Les Bleus Zinedine Zidane criticized then French manager Raymond Domenech and said there was no teamwork among players. The worst was yet to come for the French as in their next game against Mexico the team fell apart following an altercation between the coach and striker Nicolas Anelka at halftime. This clearly affected other players as the French went on to lose the game by 2-0 in the second half.
The off-field controversies looked never-ending as Anelka was dismissed from the squad which led to other squad members including captain Patrice Evra boycotting training for the final game against hosts South Africa. In the final game, the apathetic attitude of French players was clearly visible as they conceded 2 goals and were a man down by half-time. Malouda scored in the 70th minute of the game which was the only goal scored by France in the 2010 World Cup.
This was the worst performance by France at the World Cup as the players couldn't put their ego aside and the manager was unable to control the squad. Raymond Domenech was replaced by Laurent Blanc shortly after the World Cup.