The defending World Cup champions, France, have broken the 24-year-long champion’s curse with their victory against Denmark earlier. The 2018 champions, after overcoming the curse, have now also become the very first nation to qualify for the World Cup round of 16, the knockout stages.
The World Cup jinx for the champions has been alive since 1998. The curse started with non-other than France themselves, who had won the tournament in 1998 and had failed to qualify for the round the 16 and gotten eliminated four years later.
Since then, every World champion has failed beyond the group stages in the glorious global showpiece. The winner of the 2006 tournament, Italy, was eliminated early in the iconic 2010 World Cup. Following the same, Spain, the 2010 champions, met the same depressing fate in 2014, followed by Germany, who had hoisted the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and met an embarrassing defeat in the 2018 Russia World Cup.
This World Cup jinx has finally met a very Shakespearean end, with the French starting the jinx in 1998 and ending it themselves 24 years later on Qatari soil.
The credit for the broken curse and the qualification for the knockouts goes to non-other than the prodigious Kylian Mbappe, who scored a brace against Denmark. The star kid from the 2018 edition of the World Cup in Russia, where he became the second youngest player at 19, to score in a World Cup final, after Pele.
The wunderkind Mbappe has now equaled the Brazilian legend Pele’s all-time record for most goals scored in a World Cup before reaching 24. What’s even more impressive is that Mbappe has the remaining tournament to break this particular record.
Whatever the case, this victory has made France the first nation to qualify for the knockout stages of the Qatar World cup and has barely been missing the likes of Benzema and Pogba. They are all set to face Tunisia in their last group game on November 30.