History of France national football team
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. 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 Olympics Games and not the USFSA. In 1919, the CFI transformed themselves into the French Football Federation. In 1921, the USFSA finally merged with the French Football Federation.
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 FIFA 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 FIFA 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 FIFA World Cup and reached the quarter-finals losing 3–1 to the 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 FIFA 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 Guérinwas officially installed as the team’s first manager. Under Guérin, France failed to qualify for the 1962 FIFA World Cup and the 1964 European Nations’ Cup. The team did return to major international play following qualification for the 1966 FIFA 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 FIFA 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 FIFA 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 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 1976. After two years in charge, he was sacked and replaced with Michel Hidalgo.
The France national football team represents France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation (French: Fédération Française de Football), the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe. The national team’s traditional colours are blue, white and red, the colors of the national flag of France, known as the drapeau tricolore, and the coq gaulois is the symbol of the team. France is colloquially known as Les Bleus (The Blues), which is the name associated with all of the country’s sporting national teams, due to the blue shirts each team incorporates.
France played its first official match in 1904, and today primarily plays its home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris. The national team has won one FIFA World Cup title, two UEFA European Football Championships, an Olympic tournament, and two FIFA Confederations Cups. Following France’s 2001 Confederations Cup victory, they became, along withArgentina, the only national teams to win the three most important men’s titles organized by FIFA. France has a strong rivalry with neighbours Italy, and has historically also had important rivalries with Belgium, Brazil, England, Germany, and Spain.
The national team has experienced much of its success during three major “golden generations”: in the 1950s, 1980s, and late 1990s/early 2000s 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 cycle. 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. Under the leadership of Didier Deschamps and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, France won the FIFA World Cup in1998, becoming one of six national teams to ever do so while hosting the tournament. Two years later, the team triumphed again inUEFA Euro 2000 and became the top team in the FIFA World Rankings for the first time. France has since added a pair ofConfederations Cup titles, in 2001 and 2003, as well as an appearance in the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which it lost 5–3 onpenalties to Italy.
Current Squad of France football national team
France were drawn in Group D of UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying along with Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania and Luxembourg. France got off to a disastrous start in their first qualifier where they surprisingly lost 0–1 to Belarus at home. However, this loss was followed by three successive wins against Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Luxembourg. France eventually topped their group, thus automatically qualifying for Euro 2012. In the finals in Poland and Ukraine, France were in Group D along with rivals England, Sweden and Ukraine. France began Euro 2012 with a 1–1 draw against England which was followed by a 2-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine. Although France lost their final group game 0–2 to Sweden, they ended second in their group and qualified for the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Spain. Following the tournament, coach Laurent Blanc resigned and was succeeded by Didier Deschamps who captained France to glory in 1998 world cup and 2000 Euro cup.
2014 FIFA World Cup
France were drawn in Group I of the UEFA zone qualification for the 2014 World Cup. They were drawn alongside defending champions Spain, Finland, Belarus and Georgia. France began well, winning their first two qualifiers against Finland and Belarus. In their next qualifier against Spain in Madrid, France were heading towards a 1–0 defeat untilOlivier Giroud equalised in injury time. France, however, lost their return leg against Spain, falling 0–1 at home. France ended second in Group I and would play against Ukrainein the playoffs. In the first leg at Kiev, France lost 2–0, forcing them to win the second leg by at least three goals in order to qualify. In the second leg at home, France won 3–0 thanks to a brace by Mamadou Sakho and a goal from Karim Benzema.
On leading France to the 2014 World Cup, Didier Deschamps extended his contract till UEFA Euro 2016. France were drawn in Group E of the 2014 World Cup along withSwitzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. Although expectations were not very high for France, they were expected to make at least the round of 16. France suffered a huge setback just before the World Cup as star midfielder Franck Ribéry would miss the tournament through injury. France started the World Cup with a 3–0 win against Honduras in which talismanic striker Karim Benzema bagged a brace. This was followed with a 5–2 thrashing of Switzerland and a goalless draw against Ecuador, which was enough for France to win the group and qualify for the knockout stages. France’s round of 16 opponents were Nigeria. France won 2–0 and would set up a quarter-final clash against Germany. France were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals courtesy of an early goal by Mats Hummels. Paul Pogba was awarded the Best Young Player award during the tournament.
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 fifth-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 and only 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 in1982. The team’s worst result in the competition was a first-round elimination 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, France suffered defeats to Mexico and South Africa and earned a point from a draw with Uruguay.
UEFA European Championship record
France is one of the most successful nations at the UEFA European Football Championship having won two titles in 1984 and 2000. The team is just below Spain and Germanywho have won three titles each. France hosted the inaugural competition in 1960 and have appeared in seven 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.