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World Cup History: 5 Top Teams that were Knocked Out in the Group Stages

  • Even defending champions are not spared at the FIFA World Cup.
Divesh Merani
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:28 IST

#4 France (2010)

Drijbil Cisse and Abou Diaby
Drijbil Cisse and Abou Diaby in disbelief after France were knocked out

France went into the 2010 World Cup in a very strange state. They were beaten finalists four years ago in Germany, but most of the team had aged heavily or retired altogether. It was a challenging time for Les Bleus.

A dismal showing at Euro 2008 followed, where the likes of Thierry Henry among others were past their prime. They almost did not even make the World Cup. A handball by Henry enabled France to score a crucial extra-time goal against the Republic of Ireland. It was not the right way to qualify and their performance in South Africa only made it worse.

There was a lot of uneasiness among the French from the get-go because of this controversy. They felt entitled and got something they did not deserve in a moment of desperation from their captain.

A failed preparatory camp saw William Gallas and Nicolas Anelka fall off bikes while Yoann Gourcuff was separated from the squad following differences. Anelka also had a major falling out with coach Raymond Domenech during half-time of their second group game against Mexico. Les Blues lost that game 2-0.

They were lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw in their opener against Uruguay and had a small chance of escaping the group with a game to go. However, it was quickly eradicated.

Patrice Evra got involved in a row during an open training session, adding even more disgrace to a disastrous World Cup campaign for the French. Anelka, Evra, and Henry were not involved in their final game against hosts South Africa.

They lost the game 2-1, a result which compounded the astonishing implosion of the French squad in 2010. They have since rebuilt nicely and have done a fairly decent job in the major tournaments since that utter humiliation.

Published 28 Jun 2018, 19:32 IST
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