After just two games in the 2014 World Cup, the defending champs have already been eliminated from contention. Spain’s 2-0 loss to Chile left them with no chance of advancing to the next round, even though they have one match left in group play.
Spain’s performance is one of the most shocking in World Cup history. Not only has the team lost its first two games, but they were outscored 7-1.
While Spain’s elimination came as a surprise, the 2010 champs do not stand alone. In recent years, the sports world has seen several champions put up similarly pathetic title defenses.
Florida Marlins (1998 MLB Season)
The Marlins might have had the worst title defense in MLB history. A year after winning their first World Series in franchise history, Florida saw its win total decrease by 38 games. They finished the season with the worst record in baseball, recording fewer wins then both expansion teams. An offseason fire sale never gave the team a chance, as the front office traded away All-Stars Moises Alou and Kevin Brown, as well as closer Robb Nen.
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Chicago Bulls (1999 NBA Season)
Michael Jordan’s greatness was never more apparent than in the season following his second retirement from the NBA. After leading Chicago to 62 wins and a third straight championship, Jordan left the Bulls, who quickly became the worst team in the Eastern Conference. In a 50-game lockout-shortened season, the defending champs won 13 games and finished in last place. The team also lost Scottie Pippen and head coach Phil Jackson, and didn’t make the playoffs for another seven years.
USA Basketball (2002 FIBA World Cup)
Two years after winning a third consecutive gold medal at the Olympics, the U.S. men’s basketball team had, perhaps, it’s most embarrassing moment in international play. At the 2002 FIBA World Championship, Team USA finished in sixth place. The team, led by Paul Pierce, Michael Finley and Andre Miller, went 6-3 in the tournament.
New York Giants (2012 NFL Season)
The season after the Giants won their second Super Bowl in four years, the team looked like they had a great chance to defend their title. However, the team failed to even make the playoffs, despite a strong 6-2 start. The Giants lost five of their final eight games, and were outscored by 63 total points in Week 15 and Week 16, which ultimately eliminated them from contention.
Roger Federer (2013 Wimbledon)
A year after Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title, he was only able to make it out of the first round. Federer was upset by Sergiy Stakhovsky in four sets just his second match. As the No.3 ranked player in the world, Federer had been one of the favorites to win the tournament. The loss ended a run of incredible consistency, as Federer had reached the quarterfinals in 36 straight Grand Slam events, before the defeat.