Biggest Shock Group Exits In Recent Years | Belgium And Germany Join List

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With one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, there’s always lots at stake, and a lot of the time what comes with that is a big shock. Well, this year’s World Cup has provided just that, as both Germany and Belgium have failed to get out of their respective groups. 

We take a look at some of the biggest shocking exits from the group stages in recent years.

Germany (2022, 2018)

Coming into the tournament in Qatar, Germany were one of the favourites to lift the trophy, however their campaign got off to the worst possible start as they lost 2-1 to a resilient Japan side.

They then drew against Spain in the next game, which left the Germans bottom going into their final game of the group stage, with just one point on the board.

Going into their final group game against Costa Rica was a must win for Germany, however a win still wouldn’t send them through, if results didn’t go their way in the game between Spain and Japan.

And they didn’t, Japan famously beat Spain coming from behind to win 2-1, just like they did against Germany in their tournament opener. Meaning Die Mannschaft’s 4-2 win against Costa Rica wasn’t enough to send them through.

This exit in Qatar made it Germany’s second exit at a World Cup group stage for a second tournament in a row. They exited at the same stage in Russia back in 2018. They fell victim to the infamous World Cup winner’s curse as they became the third reigning champion in a row to go out in the groups.

They won the tournament in Brazil four years prior to their 2018 exit, losing to Mexico and South Korea in their group.

Belgium (2022)

Much like Germany, Belgium were a shock exit at this year’s tournament in Qatar. The Belgians sat second placed in the FIFA ranking coming into the World Cup, and were not exactly favourites to win the whole thing, but going out at the group stages was unthinkable.

One win, one draw and one loss was not enough for Roberto Martinez’s side to go through to the knockout stages. After marginally winning their opening game against Canada, there was doubts that they’d see a late run into the tournament, and then losing to Morocco in their second game plunged them into even more trouble, meaning they had to win their last game at least to qualify, and they were held to a 0-0 draw with Croatia, who went through instead.

Martinez left his position as head coach immediately following the game, and their crop of ageing talent in the likes of Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were just not good enough in the tournament, and couldn’t see them through. The Golden Generation ended without winning the World Cup.

Spain (2014) 

Spain were knocked out at the group stages in Brazil back in 2014, after completely dominating international football in a way that wasn’t ever seen before. Another huge team falling to the World Cup winners curse.

They won successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and also lifted the World Cup in 2010, in four years of total domination.

However, they went into Brazil 2014 as favourites to win a fourth straight major tournament but fell to a shock group elimination. They were thrashed 5-1 by the Netherlands, who got revenge after losing to Spain in the final of the previous tournament.

Then a 2-0 defeat to Chile in their second match all but confirmed their elimination, and eventually they were sent home much earlier than expected.

Italy (2010)

Italy came into the 2010 World Cup as reigning champions after beating France in the 2006 final, where the footballing world seen one of the most controversial moments in the history of the game.

The Azzurri side was in slight decline, with key players coming to the end of their reign in Italian football. However they still had the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon playing in blue.

Saying that, both players were struggling with injury at the time, and incredibly failed to even win a match in South Africa. They drew with Paraguay and New Zealand before losing 3-2 to Slovakia in their final game to catch an early flight home.

Biggest Shock Group Exits In Recent Years | Belgium And Germany Join List

France (2002)

France went into the 2002 World Cup as both world and European champions, winning the Euro 2000 two years after winning the World Cup in 1998.

Their team was full of superstars including Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry and Marcel Desailly.

However, Les Bleus got their tournament off to the worst possible star, losing to Senegal who were playing in their first ever World Cup.

Then they drew 0-0 with Uruguay in their second game and embarrassingly lost 2-0 to Denmark in their final game, which sent them home with just one point, in a competition they were defending their title in.

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