France

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The France national football team (French: Équipe de France de football) represents France in international 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).

France play home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, and the current manager is Didier Deschamps. They have won one FIFA World Cup, two UEFA European Football Championships, an Olympic tournament, and two FIFA Confederations Cups. France experienced much of its success in three major eras: 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 in 1998. Two years later, the team triumphed at UEFA Euro 2000. France won the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003, and reached the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 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, Germany, Argentina and Brazil are the only national teams that have won the three most important men’s titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament. They have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina and Brazil, and UEFA European Championship for France and Germany)

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 until Olivier 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 Ukraine in 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 Euro 2016. France were drawn in Group E of the 2014 World Cup along with Switzerland, 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.

Euro 2016
France automatically qualified for Euro 2016 by virtue of being hosts and were considered one of the tournament favorites considering the fact that they had won the last two major tournaments which they hosted. Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa are not in squad for Euro 2016. France were drawn in Group A of the tournament alongside Romania, Switzerland and minnows Albania. France won their group with wins over Romania and Albania and a goalless draw against Switzerland and were poised to face the Republic of Ireland in the round of 16. 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. France won the match 2–0 and this marked their first win over Germany at a major tournament since 1958. 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 lose the final of a European Championship on home soil after Portugal failed to secure the title in 2004.

2018 FIFA World Cup
France were potted in Group A of the UEFA zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers along with Netherlands and Sweden. Les Bleus had a shaky start to their campaign as they began with a 0-0 draw against Belarus at Barysaw. They bounced back with a 4-1 thrashing of Bulgaria which was followed by a 1-0 win against Netherlands at Amsterdam. France won another two matches against Sweden and Luxembourg before being beaten by the Swedes in the return leg at Solna. France went through the remainder of the qualifying unbeaten and topped their group to qualify for their 15th FIFA World Cup.

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 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 in 1982. 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 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.

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.

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

FIFA World Cup
Winners (1): 1998
Runner-up (1): 2006
Third-place (2): 1958, 1986
Fourth-place (1): 1982

Olympic football tournament
Gold Medal (1): 1984
Silver Medal (1): 1900

UEFA European Championship
Winners (2): 1984, 2000
Runner-up (1): 2016
Semi-finalist (1): 1996
Fourth-place (1): 1960

FIFA Confederations Cup
Winners (2): 2001, 2003

Leagues
2018 FIFA World Cup
Seasons
2018