List of World Cup Runners-Up

The World Cup runners-up are often forgotten in soccer. However, it's worth highlighting what they did to reach the final tournament.
List of World Cup Runners-Up

Last update: 12 September, 2020

People don’t talk much about who wins second place. Do you remember which team lost the final of the last World Cup? Unfortunately, many people might not even know who it was. For this reason, we want to honor these World Cup runners-up.

Unlike how people usually only talk about the winner, we’re going to give credit to those that made it to the decisive match that everyone wants to get to. Being second is also important!

List of World Cup runners-up

Even being fans of soccer history, it can be hard to remember the World Cup runners-up, or at least from the last few editions. Maybe it’s because we’re part of a somewhat successful society, or perhaps we don’t want to support the losing team.

In any case, in this list, we’ll give you a brief overview of all those who have come second in the World Cups. Our list starts with the most recent and ends with the first.

1. Croatia (Russia 2018)

If we talk about merits, Croatia finishing second in the last World Cup is enough. It was the team’s first time reaching the final, having beaten England in the semi-finals.

The match was played at the Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, in Moscow, and the opponent was France. The match ended 4-2 in favor of the Gauls.

2. World Cup runners-up: Argentina (Brazil 2014)

Germany and Argentina have a lot of history when it comes to the World Cup. it was the third time they faced each other! In the previous ones, each team won once.

This time, the Germans “broke” the record and took the cup, after winning 1-0 in overtime. The goal came from Mario Götze, after 113 minutes of play.

The World Cup between Germany and Argentina.

3. Netherlands (South Africa 2010)

It was the first World Cup that Spain won, but today, we’ll talk about the World Cup runners-up, the Netherlands. As in 2014, this match was very close. In overtime, Andrés Iniesta scored a goal at 116 minutes.

4. France (Germany 2006)

Perhaps it’s one of the most memorable finals of the last world championships, due to the famous header by Zinedine Zidane. However, since we’re talking about the World Cup runners-up, we’ll focus on France, who had beaten Portugal in the semifinals.

In the final match against Italy, played at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, the result was a 1-1 tie. The goals came from Zidane and Materazzi, the protagonists of the most talked about “fight.”

France and Italy in the World Cup.

Therefore, the “luck” of the champion was decided in the kicks from the penalty mark. The Italians converted all attempts, while the French only three; the second penalty was missed by Trezeguet, and it wasn’t necessary to kick the fifth.

5. World Cup runners-up: Germany (Korea/Japan 2002)

This was an impressive final between two world powers. It was between Brazil and Germany, with a 2-0 win with two goals from Ronaldo, who was the top scorer of the tournament.

Also, Germany received several distinctions through its players, such as the Golden Ball for Oliver Khan. In fact, he was one of the stars, along with Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose.

6. Brazil (France 1998)

If we make the list backward, we can say that Brazil took revenge after finishing second in France, against the local team. Regarding this tournament, won by the host, it’s worth noting that the final was played at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis. Also, the victory was clear, a 3-0 in favor of the Gauls.

7. Italy (the United States 1994)

This time, Brazil was the champion after defeating the Italians. The final match was exciting, although they tied during the regulation 90 minutes without goals.

Italian soccer fans anxiously watching to see if they'd be supporting the World Cup runners-up or the winners.

The final score came from penalties. The first two shots- one per team- missed! Then, the Brazilians converted three and the Italians, only two.

Other World Cup runners-up

The other runners-up in each World Cup were: Argentina (lost to West Germany in Italy 1990); Federal Germany (defeated by Argentina in Mexico 1986); Federal Germany (lost to Italy in Spain 1982); Netherlands (lost to the local in Argentina 1978); Netherlands (defeated by West Germany in Germany 1974).

The list continues with Italy (lost to Brazil in Mexico in 1970); West Germany (lost to the host in England 1966); Czechoslovakia (lost against Brazil in Chile 1962); Sweden (defeated by Brazil in Sweden 1958); Hungary (lost to West Germany in Switzerland 1954); Brazil (lost in the “Maracanazo” against Uruguay in Brazil 1950); Hungary (lost to Italy in France 1938); Chescolovaquia (lost against Italy in Italy 1934); and Argentina (defeated by Uruguay in Uruguay 1930).

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.