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NEW: Two former World Cup champions face off against each other on Thursday
NEW: Both England and Uruguay are on losing streaks and need a victory
It's more common for defending champs to lose early than to repeat victories
Spain become the fifth World Cup title holders to crash out early
Two former World Cup champions face off Thursday in Brazil, but neither England nor Uruguay have been in dominant form lately.
They both lost their first matches this year and will be hungry for a win to keep hopes alive of advancing to the knockout round of the competition.
England, the 1966 champions, have lost their last two World Cup matches.
Uruguay, who have won the World Cup twice, have lost their last three matches.
Uruguay holds the distinction of being the only champion who didn’t defend its crown. The South American nation hosted and won the 1930 tournament, but refused to participate in 1934 in Italy because the Italians didn’t show up four years earlier.
It’s already clear that the defending champions this year will not be repeating their triumph.
Spain, the dominant national team in European and world football for most of the past decade, crashed out of the World Cup in shocking style Wednesday night, with a 2-0 loss to Chile that makes it impossible for the title holders to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
It was a surprise result, but arguably not an unusual one: The Spanish are the fifth defending champions to be eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup.
That’s more than a quarter of all title holders ever to to try to repeat. It’s more common for a defending champ not to make it to the knockout stage than to win the World Cup twice in a row.
Champions who went out early:
Italy: Won in 1938, eliminated in 1950 (there were no World Cups in between because of World War II)
Brazil: won in 1962, eliminated in 1966
France: won in 1998, eliminated in 2002
Italy: won in 2006, eliminated in 2010
Spain: won in 2010, eliminated in 2014
Spain’s 5-1 loss to the Netherlands in their first match this year is the worst defeat ever suffered by a defending champion.
On the other hand, Chile’s goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, now jointly leads the World Cup in saves, with 9. Maty Ryan of Australia and Charles Itandje of Cameroon are the others.
Champions who repeated:
Italy: 1934 and 1938
Beyond that, things get more complicated.
Read: Late goal keeps Portugal’s hopes alive
CNN’s Aleks Klosok and Manuela Lanza contributed to this report.