The Welsh Gull

Torquay United, the Football League and other stuff

How to start a World Cup campaign

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After Adrian Chiles’ ridiculous assertion during ITV’s coverage of Germany vs Australia that it’s better to start off a World Cup poorly like England, I decided to check out the group stage records of the past few World Cup-winning teams:

2006 – Italy
Win 2-0 vs Ghana
Draw 1-1 vs USA
Win 2-0 vs Czech Republic

2002 – Brazil
Win 2-1 vs Turkey
Win 4-0 vs China
Win 5-2 vs Costa Rica

1998 – France
Win 3-0 vs South Africa
Win 4-0 vs Saudi Arabia
Win 2-1 vs Denmark

1994 – Brazil
Win 2-0 vs Russia
Win 3-0 vs Cameroon
Draw 1-1 vs Sweden

1990 – West Germany
Win 4-1 vs Yugoslavia
Win 5-1 vs UAE
Draw 1-1 vs Colombia

1986 – Argentina
Win 3-1 vs South Korea
Draw 1-1 vs Italy
Win 2-0 vs Bulgaria

1982 – Italy
Draw 0-0 vs Poland
Draw 1-1 vs Peru
Draw 1-1 vs Cameroon

So there we are – the last team that didn’t win their first match (or top their group, for that matter) but go on to win the World Cup was Italy 28 years ago. It is also worth noting that before them, Argentina, West Germany and Brazil all won their first games in the previous 3 tournaments as well – England, of course, didn’t in 1966, but neither did they win their first games in 1986, 1990 or 2002, so to cite this as evidence for a potential England win is silly. Meanwhile, Germany scored 4 in their first game the last time they won the tournament.

The fact is, you have to start well to win the World Cup. Not necessarily outstanding, but you have to win games, because you have to get through the first round. No point starting slowly and building momentum if you end up starting so slowly that you end up getting knocked out there and then.

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Written by James Bennett

June 14, 2010 at 10:08

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