Brazil in 1966
Brazil won their second consecutive World Cup trophy in 1962 in Chile. But any hope of an unprecedented third consecutive victory was quickly wiped out in England in 1966. After winning their first game against Bulgaria, the holders lost 1-3 to both Hungary and Portugal. Pele, who had missed much of the previous tournament through injury, was hurt again in their first game in 1966 and could not save Brazil from elimination.
New Zealand players celebrate their draw over Italy in the 2010 FIFA World Cup at South Africa. Pic/Getty Images
France in 2002
France won their first World Cup on home turf in 1998, romping to victory with a dominant 3-0 win over holders and favourites Brazil in the final. Having gone on to win Euro 2000, there was great expectation that they would be able to retain the trophy in 2002. But the competition was an abject humiliation for the French and, after losing 0-1 to Senegal in the competition's curtain raiser, they went on to crash out in the group stage without scoring a single goal.
Italy in 2010
Fabio Cannavaro lifted Italy's fourth World Cup in 2006 after a penalty shoot-out victory over France in the final. It was certainly just reward for Cannavaro and Italy's defensive performances, having only conceded two goals in the entire tournament. In 2010, the holders could have hardly asked for a kinder group, with Paraguay, Slovakia and new boys New Zealand. But it was one tournament too far for Italy's ageing squad, which included nine players over the age of 30. They bowed out at the group stage without registering a win, with their nadir coming in an embarrassing 1-1 draw with New Zealand.