The 2022 FIFA World Cup is already upon us, and it’s making history as the first World Cup tournament to take place in the winter months. While 32 teams and a sea of fans will flood Qatar’s capital Doha for the action, millions more will be watching around the world to see who takes home this year’s title.
The tournament kicks off on November 20, but ahead of the action let’s take a look at the reigning champions France as they look to defend their title from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The World Cup trophy in 2018 went to France as a 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe had a breakout tournament and exploded onto the world stage. The young phenom scored four goals in his first World Cup tournament, joining the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, and French teammate Antoine Griezmann who all notched four as well.
France was drawn into Group C in 2018 along with Denmark, Peru, and Australia, and were immediately the favorites to win the group. They started off with a 2-1 win over Australia, followed by a 1-0 win over Peru where Mbappe notched his first goal. Already having clinched a spot in the knockouts, the French side finished the group stage with a 0-0 draw against Denmark as they finished on top of the group with seven points.
The knockouts saw a fairly rough path for France to take to the final, as they started out with a match against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the Round of 16. They were able to squeak out a 4-3 win over the Argentines, thanks to goals from Griezmann, Benjamin Pavard, and a brace from Mbappe. The quarterfinals saw a 2-0 win over Uruguay, which was followed by a narrow 1-0 win over the dark horse favorites Belgium, who had just knocked off Brazil in the quarters.
The final took place on July 15, 2018 as France met up against Croatia featuring the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, and Ante Rebic. An own goal from Mario Mandzukic put France up 1-0 early on in the game, while goals from Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappe sealed the eventual 4-2 win for the French side, leading them to lift their second ever World Cup trophy, and their first since 1998.