World Cup 2022: Which teams have won back-to-back titles?

France's players celebrate their World Cup win in 2018.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

France's 2-0 win over Morocco in the World Cup semi-finals this week keeps Les Bleus on course for a second successive title in football's grandest tournament.

Didier Deschamps' side rode the storm against a Moroccan side who dominated for large periods and now face Argentina in the final. Les Bleus beat Croatia in the 2018 showpiece in Russia to claim their second World Cup overall, having first won the tournament on home soil in 1998.

But now, they have an almost unique opportunity to win the tournament back-to-back.

How many World Cup champions have won back-to-back titles?

That has only been done – officially at least – by two teams: Italy and Brazil.

Italy won the second official World Cup in 1934, beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Rome, and retained the trophy with a 4-2 victory over Hungary in the 1938 final in France.

The feat was next – and most recently – achieved by Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Inspired by the magic of a 17-year-old Pele and the brilliance of Garrincha, the Selecao beat hosts Sweden 5-2 in the first of those finals and they went on to claim the trophy again with a 3-1 win over Czechoslovakia in Chile four years later.

Both of those teams collected the Jules Rimet Trophy, which means France could become the first to claim the current FIFA World Cup Trophy (which has been used since 1974) twice in a row.

Uruguay won the Olympic football tournaments in 1924 and 1928, which were later recognised by FIFA as world titles, which is why the Celeste wear four stars on their shirts and not two. If those are counted, Uruguay have won three in a row (1924, 1928 and 1930). And if not, Uruguay did win both of their first official World Cups (in 1930 and 1950), having chosen not to enter the 1934 and 1938 editions.

West Germany reached three consecutive finals between 1982 and 1990, but only won the latter. And their 1-0 victory over Argentina stopped the Albiceleste from retaining the trophy they won at Mexico 1986. Netherlands also lost back-to-back finals (in 1974 and 1978 – to the host nation each time).

Up until now, only Argentina, Brazil, West Germany and Netherlands have played in back-to-back finals in the official World Cup (since 1930), with France joining them this week. 

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.