France national football team

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France
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Les Bleus (The Blues)
Association French Football Federation (FFF)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Didier Deschamps
Captain Hugo Lloris
Most caps Lilian Thuram (142)
Top scorer Thierry Henry (51)
Home stadium Stade de France
FIFA code FRA
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 2 Decrease 1 (25 October 2018)[1]
Highest 1 (May 2001 – May 2002, August – September 2018)
Lowest 26 (September 2010)
Elo ranking
Current 2 Increase 3 (18 November 2018)[2]
Highest 1 (most recently 16 August 2018)
Lowest 40 (March–July 1930)
First international
 Belgium 3–3 France 
(Brussels, Belgium; 1 May 1904)
Biggest win
 France 10–0 Azerbaijan 
(Auxerre, France; 6 September 1995)
Biggest defeat
 Denmark 17–1 France 
(London, England; 22 October 1908)
World Cup
Appearances 15 (first in 1930)
Best result Champions (1998, 2018)
European Championship
Appearances 9 (first in 1960)
Best result Champions (1984, 2000)
Confederations Cup
Appearances 2 (first in 2001)
Best result Champions (2001, 2003)

The France national football team (French: Équipe de France de football) represents France in international football and is controlled by the French Football Federation, also known as FFF, or in French: Fédération française de football. The team's colours are blue, white and red, and the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus (The Blues). The French side are the reigning World Cup holders, having won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 15 July 2018.

France play home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, and the manager is Didier Deschamps. They have won two FIFA World Cups, two UEFA European Championships, two FIFA Confederations Cups and one Olympic tournament. France experienced much of its success in four major eras: in the 1950s, 1980s, late 1990s/early 2000s, and mid/late 2010s, respectively, which resulted in numerous major honours. France was one of the four European teams that participated in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and, although having been eliminated in the qualification stage six times, is one of only three teams that have entered every World Cup qualifying cycle.[3]

In 1958, the team, led by Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine, finished in third place at the FIFA World Cup. In 1984, France, led by Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini, won UEFA Euro 1984 and Football at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Under the captaincy of Didier Deschamps and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998. Two years later, the team triumphed at UEFA Euro 2000. France won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003, and reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, which it lost 5–3 on penalties to Italy. The team also reached the final of UEFA Euro 2016, where they lost 1–0 to Portugal in extra time. France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, defeating Croatia 4–2 in the final match on 15 July 2018. This was the second time they had won the tournament after winning it on home soil in 1998.

France was the first national team that has won the three most important men’s titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament after victory in the Confederations Cup in 2001. Since 2001, Argentina (after the 2004 Olympics) and Brazil (after the 2016 Olympics) are the other two national teams that have won these three titles. They have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina and Brazil, and UEFA European Championship for France).[4][5]

History

France national team at 1920 Summer Olympics

The France national football team was created in 1904 around the time of FIFA's foundation on 21 May 1904 and contested its first official international match on 1 May 1904 against Belgium in Brussels, which ended in a 3–3 draw.[6] The following year, on 12 February 1905, France contested their first-ever home match against Switzerland. The match was played at the Parc des Princes in front of 500 supporters. France won the match 1–0 with the only goal coming from Gaston Cyprès. Due to disagreements between FIFA and the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA), the country's sports union, France struggled to establish an identity. On 9 May 1908, the French Interfederal Committee (CFI), a rival organization to the USFSA, ruled that FIFA would now be responsible for the club's appearances in forthcoming Olympic Games and not the USFSA. In 1919, the CFI transformed themselves into the French Football Federation (FFF). In 1921, the USFSA finally merged with the FFF.

In July 1930, France appeared in the inaugural FIFA World Cup, held in Uruguay. In their first-ever World Cup match, France defeated Mexico 4–1 at the Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo. Lucien Laurent became notable in the match as he scored not only France's first World Cup goal, but the first goal in World Cup history. Conversely, France also became the first team to not score in a match after losing 1–0 to fellow group stage opponents Argentina. Another loss to Chile resulted in the team bowing out in the group stage. The following year saw the first selection of a black player to the national team. Raoul Diagne, who was of Senegalese descent, earned his first cap on 15 February in a 2–1 defeat to Czechoslovakia. Diagne later played with the team at the 1938 World Cup, alongside Larbi Benbarek, who was one of the first players of North African origin to play for the national team. At the 1934 World Cup, France suffered elimination in the opening round, losing 3–2 to Austria. On the team's return to Paris, they were greeted as heroes by a crowd of over 4,000 supporters. France hosted the 1938 World Cup and reached the quarter-finals, losing 3–1 to defending champions Italy.

The 1950s saw France handed its first Golden Generation composed of players such as Just Fontaine, Raymond Kopa, Jean Vincent, Robert Jonquet, Maryan Wisnieski, Thadée Cisowski, and Armand Penverne. At the 1958 World Cup, France reached the semi-finals losing to Brazil. In the third place match, France defeated West Germany 6–3 with Fontaine recording four goals, which brought his goal tally in the competition to 13, a World Cup record. The record still stands today. France hosted the inaugural UEFA European Football Championship in 1960 and, for the second straight international tournament, reached the semi-finals. In the round, France faced Yugoslavia and were shocked 5–4 despite being up 4–2 heading into the 75th minute. In the third-place match, France were defeated 2–0 by the Czechoslovakians.

The 1960s and 70s saw France decline significantly playing under several managers and failing to qualify for numerous international tournaments. On 25 April 1964, Henri Guérin was officially installed as the team's first manager. Under Guérin, France failed to qualify for the 1962 World Cup and the 1964 European Nations' Cup. The team did return to major international play following qualification for the 1966 World Cup. The team lost in the group stage portion of the tournament. Guérin was fired following the World Cup. He was replaced by José Arribas and Jean Snella, who worked as caretaker managers in dual roles. The two only lasted four matches and were replaced by former international Just Fontaine, who only lasted two. Louis Dugauguez succeeded Fontaine and, following his early struggles in qualification for the 1970 World Cup, was fired and replaced by Georges Boulogne, who could not get the team to the competition. Boulogne was later fired following his failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup and was replaced by the Romanian Ștefan Kovács, who became the only international manager to ever manage the national team. Kovács also turned out to be a disappointment failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup and UEFA Euro 1976. After two years in charge, he was sacked and replaced with Michel Hidalgo.

Michel Platini captained France to victory at UEFA Euro 1984.

Under Hidalgo, France flourished, mainly due to the accolades of great players like defenders Marius Trésor and Maxime Bossis, striker Dominique Rocheteau and midfielder Michel Platini, who, alongside Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Luis Fernández formed the "carré magique" ("Magic Square"), which would haunt opposing defenses beginning at the 1982 World Cup, where France reached the semi-finals losing on penalties to rivals West Germany. The semi-final match-up is considered one of the greatest matches in World Cup history and was marred with controversy.[7] France earned their first major international honor two years later, winning Euro 1984, which they hosted. Under the leadership of Platini, who scored a tournament-high nine goals, France defeated Spain 2–0 in the final. Platini and Bruno Bellone scored the goals. Following the Euro triumph, Hidalgo departed the team and was replaced by former international Henri Michel. France later completed the hat-trick when they won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics football tournament and, a year later, defeated Uruguay 2–0 to win the Artemio Franchi Trophy, an early precursor to the FIFA Confederations Cup. Dominique Rocheteau and José Touré scored the goals. In a span of a year, France were holders of three of the four major international trophies. At the 1986 World Cup, France were favorites to win the competition, and, for the second consecutive World Cup, reached the semi-finals where they faced West Germany. Again, however, they lost. A 4–2 victory over Belgium gave France third place.

France lifting the 1998 FIFA World Cup

In 1988, the FFF opened the Clairefontaine National Football Institute. Its opening ceremony was attended by then-President of France, François Mitterrand. Five months after Clairefontaine's opening, manager Henri Michel was fired and was replaced by Michel Platini, who failed to get the team to the 1990 World Cup. Platini did lead the team to Euro 1992 and, despite going on a 19-match unbeaten streak prior to the competition, suffered elimination in the group stage. A week after the completion of the tournament, Platini stepped down as manager and was replaced by his assistant Gérard Houllier. Under Houllier, France and its supporters experienced a heartbreaking meltdown after having qualification to the 1994 World Cup all but secured with two matches to go, which were against last place Israel and Bulgaria. In the match against Israel, France were upset 3–2 and, in the Bulgaria match, suffered an astronomical 2–1 defeat. The subsequent blame and public outcry to the firing of Houllier and departure of several players from the national team fold. His assistant Aimé Jacquet was given his post.

France starting line-up against Brazil at the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final, a match they won 3–0.

Under Jacquet, the national team experienced its triumphant years. The squad composed of veterans that failed to reach the 1994 FIFA World Cup were joined by influential youngsters, such as Zinedine Zidane. The team started off well reaching the semi-finals of Euro 1996, where they lost 6–5 on penalties to the Czech Republic. In the team's next major tournament at the 1998 World Cup at home, Jacquet led France to glory defeating Brazil 3–0 in the final at the Stade de France in Paris. Jacquet stepped down after the country's World Cup triumph and was succeeded by assistant Roger Lemerre who guided them through Euro 2000. Led by FIFA World Player of the Year Zidane, France defeated Italy 2–1 in the final. David Trezeguet scored the golden goal in extra time. The victory gave the team the distinction of being the first national team to hold both the World Cup and Euro titles since West Germany did so in 1974, and it was also the first time that a reigning World Cup winner went on to capture the Euro. Following the result, the France national team was inserted to the number one spot in the FIFA World Rankings.

Zinedine Zidane captaining France at the 2006 FIFA World Cup

France failed to maintain that pace in subsequent tournaments. Although, the team won the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, France suffered a first round elimination at the 2002 World Cup. One of the greatest shocks in World Cup history saw France condemned to a 1–0 defeat to debutantes Senegal in the opening game of the tournament. France became the second nation to be eliminated in the first round while holding the World Cup crown, the first one being Brazil in 1966. After the 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cups, Italy, Spain, and Germany were also added to this list.[8] After France finished bottom of the group, Lemerre was dismissed and was replaced by Jacques Santini. A full strength team started out strongly at Euro 2004, but they were upset in the quarter-finals by the eventual winners Greece. Santini resigned as coach and Raymond Domenech was picked as his replacement. France struggled in the early qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup. This prompted Domenech to persuade several past members out of international retirement to help the national team qualify, which they accomplished following a convincing 4–0 win over Cyprus on the final day of qualifying. In the 2006 World Cup final stages, France finished undefeated in the group stage portion and advanced all the way to the final defeating the likes of Spain, Brazil and Portugal en route. France played Italy in the final and, in part down to controversial disruptions in extra time that lead to captain Zinedine Zidane being sent off, failed to find a winning goal, Italy winning 5–3 on penalties to be crowned World Cup champions.

The French team in front of fans in 2006.

France started its qualifying round for Euro 2008 strong and qualified for the tournament, despite two defeats to Scotland. France bowed out during the group stage portion of the tournament after having been placed in the group of death (which included Netherlands and Italy).[9][10] Just like the team's previous World Cup qualifying campaign, the 2010 campaign got off to a disappointing start with France suffering disastrous losses and earning uninspired victories. France eventually finished second in the group and earned a spot in the UEFA play-offs against the Republic of Ireland for a place in South Africa. In the first leg, France defeated the Irish 1–0 and in the second leg procured a 1–1 draw, via controversial circumstances, to qualify for the World Cup.[11]

In the 2010 World Cup final stages, the team continued to perform under expectations and were eliminated in the group stage, while the negative publicity the national team received during the competition led to further repercussions back in France. Midway through the competition, striker Nicolas Anelka was dismissed from the national team after reportedly having a dispute, in which obscenities were passed, with team manager Raymond Domenech during half-time of the team's loss to Mexico.[12][13] The resulting disagreement over Anelka's expulsion between the players, the coaching staff and FFF officials resulted in the players boycotting training before their third game.[14][15][16] In response to the training boycott, Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot lectured the players and "reduced France's disgraced World Cup stars to tears with an emotional speech on the eve of their final group A match".[17] France then lost their final game 2–1 to the hosts South Africa and failed to advance. The day after the team's elimination, it was reported by numerous media outlets that then President of France Nicolas Sarkozy would meet with team captain Thierry Henry to discuss the issues associated with the team's meltdown at the World Cup, at Henry's request.[18] Following the completion of the World Cup tournament, Federation President Jean-Pierre Escalettes resigned from his position.

Domenech, whose contract already expired, was succeeded as head coach by former international Laurent Blanc. On 23 July 2010, at the request of Blanc, the FFF suspended all 23 players in the World Cup squad for the team's friendly match against Norway after the World Cup.[19] On 6 August, five players who were deemed to have played a major role in the training boycott were disciplined for their roles.[20][21]

After captaining France intermittently since 2010, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been the French captain permanently since February 2012.

At Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, France reached the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Spain.[22][23] Following the tournament, coach Laurent Blanc resigned and was succeeded by Didier Deschamps, who captained France to glory in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.[24][25] His team qualified for the 2014 World Cup by beating Ukraine in the playoffs, and Deschamps then extended his contract until Euro 2016.[26] Missing star midfielder Franck Ribéry through injury,[27] France lost to eventual champions Germany in the quarter-finals courtesy of an early goal by Mats Hummels.[28] Paul Pogba was awarded the Best Young Player award during the tournament.[29]

France automatically qualified as hosts for Euro 2016.[30] Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa were not in the squad.[31][32] France were drawn in Group A of the tournament alongside Romania, Switzerland and Albania.[33] France won their group with wins over Romania and Albania and a goalless draw against Switzerland and were poised to play the Republic of Ireland in the round of sixteen.[34][35][36] Ireland took the lead after just two minutes through a controversially awarded penalty, which was converted by Robbie Brady. A brace from Antoine Griezmann, however, helped France to win the match 2–1 and qualify for the quarter-finals, where they beat a resilient Iceland 5–2 to set up a semi-final clash against world champions and tournament co-favourites Germany.[37][38][39] France won the match 2–0, marking their first win over Germany at a major tournament since 1958.[40][41] France, however, were beaten by Portugal 1–0 in the final courtesy of an extra-time goal by Eder. Griezmann was named the Player of the Tournament and was also awarded the Golden Boot in addition to being named in the Team of the Tournament, alongside Dimitri Payet. The defeat meant that France became the second nation to have lost the final on home soil, after Portugal lost the final to Greece in 2004.[42][43][44][45][46]

France starting line-up against Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, a match they won 4–2.

In 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, France topped their group with 23 points; winning 7 wins, drawing 2 and losing once,[47] although their two draws were against considerably weaker nations, drawing 0–0 with Belarus in their opening match[48] and against Luxembourg, failing to secure a win against the latter since 1914, nearly 103 years.[49] Their only defeat of the qualifying phase was against Sweden; losing 2–1 in the last few minutes following an error from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.[50] France secured qualification to the World Cup finals with a 2–1 win over Belarus.[51] They were drawn to play Australia, Peru and Denmark in a group in which they were considered heavy favourites.[52][53] Overall, due to the strength and value of their squad, France were tipped by many as one of the favourites for the title.[54][55][56] France, however, had a somewhat disappointing performance in the group stage, only managing a 2–1 win over Australia and a 1–0 win over Peru, followed by a match against Denmark which finished in a 0–0 draw.[57][58][59][60] France beat Argentina 4–3 in the round of sixteen and then Uruguay 2–0 to qualify for the semi-final stage, where they beat Belgium 1–0 courtesy of a goal from defender Samuel Umtiti.[61][62][63] On 15 July, France beat Croatia in the final with result 4–2 to win the World Cup for the second time.[64] Didier Deschamps became the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach and also became the second man to win the title as a captain and a coach.[65] Kylian Mbappé was awarded the Best Young Player award and Antoine Griezmann was awarded the Bronze Ball and the Silver Boot for their brilliant performance during the tournament.[66]

Home stadium

During France's early years, the team's national stadium alternated between the Parc des Princes in Paris and the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes. France also hosted matches at the Stade Pershing, Stade de Paris, and the Stade Buffalo, but to a minimal degree. As the years moved forward, France began hosting matches outside the city of Paris at such venues as the Stade Marcel Saupin in Nantes, the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, and the Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg.

Following the renovation of the Parc des Princes in 1972, which gave the stadium the largest capacity in Paris, France moved into the venue permanently. The team still hosted friendly matches and minor FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Football Championship qualification matches at other venues. Twice France have played home matches in a French overseas department – in 2005 against Costa Rica in Fort-de-France (Martinique) and in 2010 against China in Saint Denis (Réunion). Both matches were friendlies.

In 1998, the Stade de France was inaugurated as France's national stadium ahead of the 1998 World Cup. Located in Saint-Denis, a Parisian suburb, the stadium has an all-seater capacity of 81,338. France's first match at the stadium was played on 28 January 1998 against Spain. France won the match 1–0, with Zinedine Zidane scoring the lone goal. Since that match, France has used the stadium for almost every major home game, including the 1998 World Cup final.

Prior to matches, home or away, the national team trains at the INF Clairefontaine academy in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines. Clairefontaine is the national association football centre and is among 12 élite academies throughout the country. The centre was inaugurated in 1976 by former FFF president Fernand Sastre and opened in 1988. The center drew media spotlight following its usage as a base camp by the team that won the 1998 World Cup.

In the 20th and 23rd minute of an international friendly on 13 November 2015, against Germany, three groups of terrorists attempted to detonate bomb vests, at three entrances of Stade de France, and two explosions occurred. Play would continue, until the 94th minute, in order to keep the crowd from panicking. Consequently, the stadium was evacuated through the unaffected gates of the stadium away from the players benches. Due to the blocked exits, spectators who could not leave the stadium had to go down to the pitch and wait until it was safer.

Team image

Media coverage

The national team currently has a broadcasting agreement with TF1 Group, who control the country's main national TV channel, TF1. The current agreement was set to expire following the 2010 World Cup. On 18 December 2009, the Federal Council of the FFF agreed to extend its exclusive broadcasting agreement with the channel. The new deal grants the channel exclusive broadcast rights for the matches of national team, which include friendlies and international games for the next four seasons beginning in August 2010 and ending in June 2014. TF1 will also have extended rights, notably on the Internet, and may also broadcast images of the national team in its weekly program, Téléfoot.[67] The FFF will receive €45 million a season, a €10 million decrease from the €55 million they received from the previous agreement reached in 2006.[68]

After France wins the second world championship in 2018, M6 together with TF1 broadcast all international fixtures featuring France respectively until 2022.[69]

Kits and crest

France's Zinedine Zidane number 10 home shirt, as made by Adidas.

The France national team utilizes a three colour system composed of blue, white and red. The team's three colours originate from the national flag of France, known as the tricolore. France have brandished the colors since their first official international match against Belgium in 1904. Since the team's inception, France normally wear blue shirts, white shorts and red socks at home (similar setup to Japan), while, when on the road, the team utilizes an all-white combination or wear red shirts, blue shorts, and blue socks with the former being the most current. Between 1909–1914, France wore a white shirt with blue stripes, white shorts, and red socks. In a 1978 World Cup match against Hungary in Mar del Plata, both teams arrived at Estadio José María Minella with white kits, so France played in green-and-white striped shirts borrowed from Club Atlético Kimberley.[70]

Nike-made France merchandise on display for UEFA Euro 2016

Beginning in 1966, France had its shirts made by Le Coq Sportif until 1971. In 1972, France reached an agreement with German sports apparel manufacturer Adidas to be the team's kit provider. Over the next 38 years, the two would maintain a healthy relationship with France winning Euro 1984, the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 while wearing Adidas' famous tricolour three stripes. During the 2006 World Cup, France wore an all-white change strip in all four of its knockout matches, including the final.[71] On 22 February 2008, the FFF announced that they were ending their partnership with Adidas and signing with Nike, effective 1 January 2011. The unprecedented deal was valued at €320 million over seven years (1 January 2011 – 9 July 2018), making France's blue shirt the most expensive ever in the history of football.[72][73]

The first France kit worn in a major tournament produced by Nike was the Euro 2012 strip, which was all dark blue and used gold as an accent colour.[74] In February 2013, Nike revealed an all baby blue change strip.

In advance of France's hosting of Euro 2016, Nike unveiled a new, unconventional kit set: blue shirts and shorts with red socks at home, white shirts and shorts and with blue socks away. The away shirt as worn in pre-Euro friendlies and released to the public also featured one blue sleeve and one red sleeve in reference to the "tricolore". However, due to UEFA regulations, France was forced to wear a modified version with the sleeve colours almost desaturated in their Euro 2016 group stage game against Switzerland, which continued to be worn during 2018 World Cup qualifying.[75]

Kit suppliers

Kit supplier Period Notes
France Le Coq Sportif 1966–1971
Germany Adidas 1972–2010
United States Nike 2011–present

Kit deals

Kit supplier Period Contract date Contract duration Value Notes
United States Nike 2011–present 22 February 2008 2011–2018 (8 years) Total 340.8 million
(42.6 million per year)[76]
8 December 2016 2018–2026 (9 years) Total 450 million
(50 million per year)[77]

Nickname

The crest of Les Bleus following their second FIFA World Cup victory.

France is often referred to by the media and supporters as Les Bleus (The Blues), which is the nickname associated with all of France's international sporting teams due to the blue shirts each team incorporates. The team is also referred to as Les Tricolores or L'Equipe Tricolore (The Tri-color Team) due to the team's utilization of the country's national colors: blue, white, and red. During the 1980s, France earned the nickname the "Brazilians of Europe" mainly due to the accolades of the "carré magique" ("Magic Square"), who were anchored by Michel Platini. Led by coach Michel Hidalgo, France exhibited an inspiring, elegant, skillful and technically advanced offensive style of football, which was strikingly similar to their South American counterparts.[78]

Representation of multi-ethnic France

The France national team has long reflected the ethnic diversity of the country. Already in its first decades, there were in the France national team players that were considered of non-"genuinely" French origin, being descendants of immigrants of former colonies of the French Colonial Empire or of European countries neighboring France. The first black player to play in the national team was Raoul Diagne in 1931. Diagne was the son of the first African elected to the French National Assembly, Blaise Diagne. Seven years later, Diagne played on the 1938 FIFA World Cup team that featured Michel Brusseaux, the second footballer of North African descent to play for the national team (after Abdelkader Ben Bouali who was selected to play against Ireland in 1937). At the 1958 World Cup, in which France reached the semi-finals, many sons of immigrants (such as Raymond Kopa, Just Fontaine, Roger Piantoni, Maryan Wisnieski and Bernard Chiarelli) were integral to the team's success. The tradition has since continued, with successful French players such as Michel Platini, Jean Tigana, Manuel Amoros, Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira, David Trezeguet, Claude Makélélé, Samir Nasri, Hatem Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema, and Kylian Mbappé all having either one or both of their parents foreign-born.

During the 1990s, the team was widely celebrated as an example of the modern multicultural French ideal.[79] The 1998 World Cup-winning team was celebrated and praised for inspiring pride and optimism about the prospects for the "French model" of social integration.[80] Of the 23 players on the team, the squad featured players who could trace their origins to Armenia, Algeria, Guadeloupe, New Caledonia, Argentina, Ghana, Senegal, Italy, French Guiana, Portugal and Martinique, with the patriarch of the team being Zinedine Zidane, who was born in Marseille to Algerian immigrants.

France v Belarus at the Stade de France in October 2017.

The multiracial makeup of the team has, at times, provoked controversy. In recent years, critics on the far right of the French political spectrum have taken issue with the proportional under-representation of ethnic white Frenchmen within the team. National Front politician Jean-Marie Le Pen protested in 1998 that the Black, Blanc, Beur team that won the World Cup did not look sufficiently French. In 2002, led by Ghanaian-born Marcel Desailly, the French team unanimously and publicly appealed to the French voting public to reject the presidential candidacy of Le Pen and, instead, return President Jacques Chirac to office. In 2006, Le Pen resumed his criticism charging that coach Raymond Domenech had selected too many black players.[81] In 2005, French-Jewish conservative writer Alain Finkielkraut caused controversy by punning to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that despite its earlier slogan, "the French national team is in fact black-black-black," and also adding that, "France is made fun of all around Europe because of that." He later apologized for the comments declaring that they were not meant to be offensive.[82]

France lining up before a friendly against Russia in 2018.

The socio-ethnic divide between the public and the team reached a climax during the 2010 World Cup. Once in South Africa, the team did not manage to score a goal in their first two matches, leaving almost no chance of going through save an exceptional win over hosts South Africa. Thereafter, the players went on strike because of what they saw as mismanagement of the Nicolas Anelka case. Anelka had been forced to depart after a slur that leaked to the press. Players said he was misquoted, and complained of the alleged leaker from the staff, the media, and the federation. Instead of training, coach Raymond Domenech read the players' petition live on television to the stunned journalists.

The national team's overall impact on France's efforts to integrate its minorities and come to terms with its colonial past has been mixed. In 2001, France played a friendly match at the Stade de France, the site of its 1998 World Cup triumph, against Algeria. It was the country's first meeting with its former colony, with whom it had fought a war from 1954 to 1962, and it proved controversial. France's national anthem, La Marseillaise, was booed by Algerian supporters before the game, and following a French goal that made the score 4–1 in the second half, spectators ran onto the field of play, which caused play to be suspended. It was never resumed.

In April 2011, the French investigative website Mediapart released a story which claimed that the FFF had been attempting to secretly put in place a quota system in order to limit the number of dual-citizenship players in its national academies. Quoting a senior figure in the FFF, the organization was said to have wanted to set a cap of 30% on the number of players of dual-nationality by limiting places in the academies in the 12–13 age bracket.[83] The FFF responded by releasing a public statement on its website denying the report, stating, "[N]one of its elected bodies has been validated, or even contemplated a policy of quotas for the recruitment of its training centers."[84] The FFF also announced that it had authorized a full investigation into the matter and, as a result, suspended National Technical Director François Blaquart pending the outcome of the investigation.[85] Former national team player Lilian Thuram said of the allegations, "Initially I thought this was a joke. I'm so stunned I don't know what to say," while Patrick Vieira declared that comments allegedly made by manager Laurent Blanc at the meeting were "serious and scandalous". The French government also weighed in on the issue, as then President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted as being "viscerally opposed to any form of quota", while adding "setting quotas would be the end of the Republic". Following the investigation, Blanc was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Coaching staff

Deschamps, the current manager of the France national football team.
As of July 2018.[86]
Position Name
Manager France Didier Deschamps
Assistant manager France Guy Stéphan
Goalkeeper coach France Franck Raviot
Trainer France Grégory Dupont
Doctor France Franck Le Gall

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up for UEFA Nations League game against Netherlands and friendly game against Uruguay on 16 November and 20 November 2018.[87]
Caps and goals as of 16 November 2018 after the match against Netherlands.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Hugo Lloris (Captain) (1986-12-26) 26 December 1986 (age 31) 107 0 England Tottenham Hotspur
16 1GK Steve Mandanda (1985-03-28) 28 March 1985 (age 33) 28 0 France Marseille
23 1GK Alphonse Areola (1993-02-27) 27 February 1993 (age 25) 2 0 France Paris Saint-Germain

2 2DF Benjamin Pavard (1996-03-28) 28 March 1996 (age 22) 17 1 Germany VfB Stuttgart
3 2DF Presnel Kimpembe (1995-08-13) 13 August 1995 (age 23) 6 0 France Paris Saint-Germain
4 2DF Raphaël Varane (1993-04-25) 25 April 1993 (age 25) 54 3 Spain Real Madrid
5 2DF Mamadou Sakho (1990-07-13) 13 July 1990 (age 28) 28 2 England Crystal Palace
12 2DF Lucas Digne (1993-07-20) 20 July 1993 (age 25) 23 0 England Everton
17 2DF Adil Rami (1985-12-27) 27 December 1985 (age 32) 35 1 France Marseille
19 2DF Djibril Sidibé (1992-07-29) 29 July 1992 (age 26) 18 1 France Monaco
22 2DF Ferland Mendy (1995-06-08) 8 June 1995 (age 23) 0 0 France Lyon

6 3MF Moussa Sissoko (1989-08-16) 16 August 1989 (age 29) 54 2 England Tottenham Hotspur
13 3MF N'Golo Kanté (1991-03-29) 29 March 1991 (age 27) 35 1 England Chelsea
14 3MF Blaise Matuidi (1987-04-09) 9 April 1987 (age 31) 76 9 Italy Juventus
15 3MF Steven Nzonzi (1988-12-15) 15 December 1988 (age 29) 13 0 Italy Roma
21 3MF Tanguy Ndombele (1996-12-28) 28 December 1996 (age 21) 3 0 France Lyon

7 4FW Antoine Griezmann (1991-03-21) 21 March 1991 (age 27) 66 26 Spain Atlético Madrid
8 4FW Alassane Pléa (1993-03-10) 10 March 1993 (age 25) 0 0 Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach
9 4FW Olivier Giroud (1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 (age 32) 86 32 England Chelsea
10 4FW Kylian Mbappé (1998-12-20) 20 December 1998 (age 19) 27 10 France Paris Saint-Germain
11 4FW Ousmane Dembélé (1997-05-15) 15 May 1997 (age 21) 21 2 Spain Barcelona
18 4FW Nabil Fekir (1993-07-18) 18 July 1993 (age 25) 19 2 France Lyon
20 4FW Florian Thauvin (1993-01-26) 26 January 1993 (age 25) 6 0 France Marseille

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up for France squad within the past 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Benoît Costil (1987-07-03) 3 July 1987 (age 31) 1 0 France Bordeaux v.  Netherlands, 9 September 2018
GK Benjamin Lecomte (1991-04-26) 26 April 1991 (age 27) 0 0 France Montpellier v.  Netherlands, 9 September 2018

DF Benjamin Mendy (1994-07-17) 17 July 1994 (age 24) 9 0 England Manchester City v.  Netherlands, 16 November 2018 INJ
DF Lucas Hernández (1996-02-14) 14 February 1996 (age 22) 15 0 Spain Atlético Madrid v.  Germany, 16 October 2018
DF Kurt Zouma (1994-10-27) 27 October 1994 (age 24) 3 0 England Everton v.  Germany, 16 October 2018
DF Samuel Umtiti (1993-11-14) 14 November 1993 (age 25) 27 3 Spain Barcelona v.  Netherlands, 9 September 2018 INJ
DF Mathieu Debuchy (1985-07-28) 28 July 1985 (age 33) 27 2 France Saint-Étienne 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE

MF Paul Pogba (1993-03-15) 15 March 1993 (age 25) 64 10 England Manchester United v.  Netherlands, 16 November 2018 INJ
MF Corentin Tolisso (1994-08-03) 3 August 1994 (age 24) 15 0 Germany Bayern Munich v.  Netherlands, 9 September 2018 INJ
MF Adrien Rabiot (1995-04-03) 3 April 1995 (age 23) 6 0 France Paris Saint-Germain 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE / WTD

FW Anthony Martial (1995-12-05) 5 December 1995 (age 22) 18 1 England Manchester United v.  Netherlands, 16 November 2018 INJ
FW Alexandre Lacazette (1991-05-28) 28 May 1991 (age 27) 16 3 England Arsenal v.  Netherlands, 16 November 2018 INJ
FW Dimitri Payet (1987-03-29) 29 March 1987 (age 31) 38 8 France Marseille v.  Germany, 16 October 2018
FW Thomas Lemar (1995-11-12) 12 November 1995 (age 23) 14 3 Spain Atlético Madrid v.  Germany, 16 October 2018
FW Kingsley Coman (1996-06-13) 13 June 1996 (age 22) 15 1 Germany Bayern Munich 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE
FW Wissam Ben Yedder (1990-08-12) 12 August 1990 (age 28) 1 0 Spain Sevilla 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE
Notes

INJ Withdrew due to injury
PRE Preliminary squad / standby
RET Retired from international football
SUS Suspended from national team
WTD Withdrew due to other reasons

Results and fixtures

2018

Competitive record

For single-match results of the national team, see French football single-season articles and the team's results page.

FIFA World Cup record

France was one of the four European teams that participated at the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and have appeared in 14 FIFA World Cups, tied for sixth-best. The national team is one of eight national teams to have won at least one FIFA World Cup title. The France team won their first World Cup title in 1998. The tournament was played on home soil and France defeated Brazil 3–0 in the final match.

In 2006, France finished as runners-up losing 5–3 on penalties to Italy. The team has also finished in third place on two occasions in 1958 and 1986 and in fourth place once in 1982. The team's worst results in the competition were first-round eliminations in 2002 and 2010. In 2002, the team suffered an unexpected loss to Senegal and departed the tournament without scoring a goal, while in 2010, a French team torn apart by conflict between the players and staff lost two of three matches and drew the other.[88][89]

In 2014, France advanced to the quarterfinal before losing to the eventual champion, Germany, 1–0.

In 2018, France defeated Croatia 4–2 in the final match and won the World Cup for the second time.[90]

FIFA World Cup finals record Qualifications record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Group stage 7th 3 1 0 2 4 3 Squad
Italy 1934 Round of 16 9th 1 0 0 1 2 3 Squad 1 1 0 0 6 1 1934
France 1938 Quarter-finals 6th 2 1 0 1 4 4 Squad Qualified as hosts 1938
Brazil 1950 Originally did not qualify, then invited, later withdrew 3 0 2 1 4 5 1950
Switzerland 1954 Group stage 11th 2 1 0 1 3 3 Squad 4 4 0 0 20 4 1954
Sweden 1958 Third place 3rd 6 4 0 2 23 15 Squad 4 3 1 0 19 4 1958
Chile 1962 Did not qualify 5 3 0 2 10 4 1962
England 1966 Group stage 13th 3 0 1 2 2 5 Squad 6 5 0 1 9 2 1966
Mexico 1970 Did not qualify 4 2 0 2 6 4 1970
West Germany 1974 4 1 1 2 3 5 1974
Argentina 1978 Group stage 12th 3 1 0 2 5 5 Squad 4 2 1 1 7 4 1978
Spain 1982 Fourth place 4th 7 3 2 2 16 12 Squad 8 5 0 3 20 8 1982
Mexico 1986 Third place 3rd 7 4 2 1 12 6 Squad 8 5 1 2 15 4 1986
Italy 1990 Did not qualify 8 3 3 2 10 7 1990
United States 1994 10 6 1 3 17 10 1994
France 1998 Champions 1st 7 6 1 0 15 2 Squad Qualified as hosts 1998
South Korea Japan 2002 Group stage 28th 3 0 1 2 0 3 Squad Qualified as defending champions 2002
Germany 2006 Runners-up 2nd 7 4 3 0 9 3 Squad 10 5 5 0 14 2 2006
South Africa 2010 Group stage 29th 3 0 1 2 1 4 Squad 12 7 4 1 20 10 2010
Brazil 2014 Quarter-finals 7th 5 3 1 1 10 3 Squad 10 6 2 2 18 8 2014
Russia 2018 Champions 1st 7 6 1 0 14 6 Squad 10 7 2 1 18 6 2018
Qatar 2022 To be determined To be determined 2022
Canada Mexico United States 2026 To be determined To be determined 2026
Total 15/21 2 Titles 66 34 13* 19 120 77 N/A 111 65 23 23 216 88 Total
*Denotes draws including knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Red border indicates tournament was held on home soil.


UEFA European Championship record

France is one of the most successful nations at the UEFA European Championship having won two titles in 1984 and 2000. The team is just below Spain and Germany who have won three titles each. France hosted the inaugural competition in 1960 and have appeared in nine UEFA European Championship tournaments, tied for fourth-best. The team won their first title on home soil in 1984 and were led by Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini. In 2000, the team, led by FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, won its second title in Belgium and the Netherlands. The team's worst result in the competition was a first-round elimination in 1992 and 2008.

UEFA European Championship record Qualification record
Year Result Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D* L GF GA
France 1960 Fourth place 4th 2 0 0 2 4 7 4 3 1 0 17 6
Spain 1964 Did not qualify 6 2 1 3 11 10
Italy 1968 8 4 2 2 16 12
Belgium 1972 6 3 1 2 10 8
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 6 1 3 2 7 6
Italy 1980 8 4 1 1 13 7
France 1984 Champions 1st 5 5 0 0 14 4 Qualified as hosts
West Germany 1988 Did not qualify 8 1 4 3 4 7
Sweden 1992 Group stage 6th 3 0 2 1 2 3 8 8 0 0 20 6
England 1996 Semi-finals 4th 5 2 3 0 5 2 10 5 5 0 22 2
Belgium Netherlands 2000 Champions 1st 6 5 0 1 13 7 10 6 3 1 17 10
Portugal 2004 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 1 1 7 5 8 8 0 0 29 2
Austria Switzerland 2008 Group stage 15th 3 0 1 2 1 6 12 8 2 2 25 5
Poland Ukraine 2012 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 1 2 3 5 10 6 3 1 15 4
France 2016 Runners-up 2nd 7 5 1 1 13 5 Qualified as hosts
Europe 2020 To be determined To be determined
Germany 2024 To be determined To be determined
Total 2 Titles 9/15 39 20 9 10 62 44 102 59 26 17 206 85

FIFA Confederations Cup record

France have appeared in two of the eight FIFA Confederations Cups contested and won the competition on both appearances. The team's two titles place in second place only trailing Brazil who have won four. France won their first Confederations Cup in 2001 having appeared in the competition as a result of winning the FIFA World Cup in 1998. The team defeated Japan 1–0 in the final match. In the following Confederations Cup in 2003, France, appearing in the competition as the host country, won the competition beating Cameroon 1–0 after extra time.

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Saudi Arabia 1992 Did not qualify
Saudi Arabia 1995
Saudi Arabia 1997
Mexico 1999 Did not enter[91]
South Korea Japan 2001 Champions 1st 5 4 0 1 12 2
France 2003 Champions 1st 5 5 0 0 12 3
Germany 2005 Did not qualify
South Africa 2009
Brazil 2013
Russia 2017
2021 Qualified
Total 2 Titles 2/10 10 9 0 1 24 5

UEFA Nations League record

UEFA Nations League record
Year Division Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA
2018–19 A To be determined
Total 1/3 4 2 1 1 4 4

Minor tournaments

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Belgium 1904 Évence Coppée Trophy Co-Winners 1 0 1 0 3 3
Brazil 1972 Brazilian Independence Cup Group stage 8th 4 3 1 0 10 2
France 1985 Artemio Franchi Trophy Winners 1 1 0 0 2 0
France 1988 Tournoi de France Winners 1st 2 2 0 0 4 2
Kuwait 1990 Kuwait Tournament Winners 1st 2 2 0 0 4 0
Japan 1994 Kirin Cup Winners 1st 2 2 0 0 5 1
France 1997 Tournoi de France Round robin 3rd 3 0 2 1 3 4
Morocco 1998 King Hassan II International Cup Tournament Winners 1st 2 1 1 0 3 2
Morocco 2000 King Hassan II International Cup Tournament Winners 1st 2 1 1 0 7 3
South Africa 2000 Nelson Mandela Inauguration Challenge Cup Co-Winners 1 0 1 0 0 0
Total 8 Titles 20 12 7 1 41 17
*Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shootout.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.

Honours

This is a list of honours for the senior France national team

FIFA World Cup

UEFA European Championship

FIFA Confederations Cup

Olympic football tournament

Competition 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) Total
World Cup 2 1 2 5
European Championship 2 1 0 3
Confederations Cup 2 0 0 2
Nations League 0 0 0 0
Olympic Games 1 1 0 2
Total 7 3 2 12

Minor titles

Évence Coppée Trophy

  • Winners: 1904 (shared with Belgium)

Artemio Franchi Trophy

  • Winners: 1985

Tournoi de France

  • Winners: 1988

Kuwait Tournament

  • Winners: 1990

Kirin Cup

  • Winners: 1994

King Hassan II International Cup Tournament

  • Winners: 1998, 2000

Nelson Mandela Inauguration Challenge Cup

Statistics

Most capped players

Lilian Thuram is the most capped player in the history of France with 142 caps.
Hugo Lloris has the most caps among active players with 106.
  Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Lilian Thuram 1994–2008 142 2
2 Thierry Henry 1997–2010 123 51
3 Marcel Desailly 1993–2004 116 3
4 Zinedine Zidane 1994–2006 108 31
5 Patrick Vieira 1997–2009 107 6
Hugo Lloris 2008–present 107 0
7 Didier Deschamps 1989–2000 103 4
8 Laurent Blanc 1989–2000 97 16
Bixente Lizarazu 1992–2004 97 2
10 Sylvain Wiltord 1999–2006 92 26

Last updated: 16 November 2018
Source: French Football Federation

Top goalscorers

Thierry Henry is the top scorer in the history of France with 51 goals.
Olivier Giroud is the top scorer among active players with 32 goals.
  Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
# Player Career Goals Caps Average
1 Thierry Henry (list) 1997–2010 51 123 0.41
2 Michel Platini 1976–1987 41 72 0.57
3 David Trezeguet 1998–2008 34 71 0.48
4 Olivier Giroud 2011–present 32 86 0.37
5 Zinedine Zidane (list) 1994–2006 31 108 0.29
6 Just Fontaine 1953–1960 30 21 1.43
Jean-Pierre Papin 1986–1995 30 54 0.56
8 Youri Djorkaeff 1993–2002 28 82 0.34
9 Karim Benzema 2007–2015 27 81 0.33
10 Antoine Griezmann 2014–present 26 66 0.39
Sylvain Wiltord 1999–2006 26 92 0.28

Last updated: 16 November 2018
Source: French Football Federation

Managers

Manager France career Games Won Drawn Lost Win %
France Henri Guérin 1964–1966 15 5 4 6 033.3
France José Arribas
France Jean Snella
1966 4 2 0 2 050.0
France Just Fontaine 1967 2 0 0 2 000.0
France Louis Dugauguez 1967–1968 9 2 3 4 022.2
France Georges Boulogne 1969–1973 31 15 5 11 048.4
Romania Ștefan Kovács 1973–1975 15 6 4 5 040.0
France Michel Hidalgo 1976–1984 75 41 16 18 054.7
France Henri Michel 1984–1988 36 16 12 8 044.4
France Michel Platini 1988–1992 29 16 8 5 055.2
France Gérard Houllier 1992–1993 12 7 1 4 058.3
France Aimé Jacquet 1993–1998 53 34 16 3 064.2
France Roger Lemerre 1998–2002 53 34 11 8 064.2
France Jacques Santini 2002–2004 28 22 4 2 078.6
France Raymond Domenech 2004–2010 79 41 24 14 051.9
France Laurent Blanc 2010–2012 27 16 7 4 059.3
France Didier Deschamps 2012–present 88 55 17 16 062.5

Last updated: 16 November 2018
Source: French Football Federation

Managers in italics were hired as caretakers

See also

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External links

  • Official website (in French)
  • France at UEFA
  • France at FIFA
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