France’s 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday evening keeps Les Bleus on course for a second successive title in football’s biggest tournament.
Didier Deschamps’ side rode the storm against an impressive England side and took place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they faced Morocco.
If they can pass that test against this tournament’s surprise package, France should face Argentina or Croatia in the final.
Les Bleus defeated Croatia in Russia’s 2018 showpiece to claim their second World Cup overall, having won the tournament on home soil for the first time in 1998.
But now they have a unique chance to win the tournament back to back.
That is – officially at least – only done by two teams: Italy and Brazil.
Italy won the second official World Cup in 1934, beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Rome and retaining the trophy with a 4-2 victory over Hungary in the 1938 final in France.
The feat was then – and most recently – achieved by Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Inspired by the magic of a 17-year-old Pele and the brilliance of Garrincha, the Seleção beat hosts Sweden 5-2 in the first of those finals and four years later they lifted the trophy again with a 3-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in Chile.
Both teams won the Jules Rimet Trophy, meaning France could become the first to claim the current FIFA World Cup Trophy (used since 1974) twice in a row.
Uruguay won the Olympic football tournaments in 1924 and 1928, which were later recognized by FIFA as world titles, which is why the Celeste wear four stars on their shirts and not two.
When those are counted, Uruguay has won three in a row (1924, 1928 and 1930). And if not, Uruguay won both of its first official World Cups (in 1930 and 1950), after choosing not to participate in the 1934 and 1938 editions.
West Germany reached three consecutive finals between 1982 and 1990, but only won the last. And their 1-0 win over Argentina prevented the Albiceleste from keeping the trophy they won in Mexico in 1986.
The Netherlands also lost back-to-back finals (in 1974 and 1978 – each time against the host country).
So far, only Argentina, Brazil, West Germany and the Netherlands have played back-to-back finals in the official World Cup (since 1930), but France and Croatia are both just 90 minutes away from joining that elite club.
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