The 2018 FIFA world champions France has become the first team to qualify for the knockout stages in the ongoing World Cup. Since the 1998 edition, European champions have failed to go beyond the group stages of the FIFA World Cup.
France, the winner of World Cup 1998, exited the competition in the group stage four years later. The winners of the 2006 World Cup, Italy, were eliminated from the 2010 World Cup in the group stages. The 2010 champions, Spain, had the same fate in 2014, while Germany, who won the FIFA World Cup in 2014, made a shocking exit in Russia four years ago.
Defending champions France beat Denmark 2-1 in their second Group D encounter and qualified for the Round of 16 in the competition after winning their first two matches. With this win, France became the first team to qualify for the knockout stage of this World Cup. They will face Tunisia in their final group-stage match on November 30.
In the last 16, France will face one of the teams from Group C – Poland, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Argentina. The team knocked out Argentina in the last World Cup, in a 7-goal thriller.