FIFA World Cup 2022 France National Team|History

France national team—France’s national football team is the defending champions of FIFA World Cup 2018. It is the underdog of world football and has appeared sixteen times in World Cup football. The French team refers to The Blues in the soccer world. French teams are also one of the most successful national teams in the world. It has provided many legendary players like Zinedine Zidane, Didier Just Fontaine, and Michel Platini to the football world.

Let’s read more about French football history, greatest players, current squad, and tournament titles here.

France Football History

Early History and Foundation

The French national team formed in the early 1900s under USFSA XI or Club Français. Then, the French team participated in the 1900 Olympics and won the silver medal. But, the team officially created the football federation in 1904 the same year FIFA was formed.

France national team 1900 Olympic
1900 Olympic football team of France. Source: Olympics

Eventually, they competed against Belgium in Brussels, securing a 3-3 draw. Then, the next year, they played their first home game against Switzerland, defeating them by one goal. In 1906, the French team suffered a heavy defeat to England with 15 goals.

At that time, France struggled with identity issues. There was a disagreement between FIFA and USFSA (former Sports Union in France). And in the 1908 Olympic Games, their conflict rose as they sent two teams to France A and B respectively.

However, Denmark defeated both the A and B teams with a huge difference. After that, USFSA left FIFA to operate the national team. After the first World War, France again tied a match with Belgium, securing 2-2 in 1919.

Following that match, they won over England. But, France did not perform well in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games.

Inaugural World Cup

In 1930, France received an invitation from FIFA to represent in the inaugural Uruguay World Cup. The French team traveled to the South American region for the first time.

They made a victory in the first match over Mexico but lost against Argentina and Chile in the remaining two matches.

1930 World Cup's French Squad
France at the 1930 World Cup. Source: Wikimedia

Hence, they returned home from the group stage. Likewise, they were eliminated from the second round of the Italy World Cup (1934).

Then in 1938, France hosted the tournament but could not surpass the quarter-finals. The same year, the second World War began and all sports activities stopped until 1950. Moreover, it qualified for the 1954 and 1958 World Cup.

Just Fontaine Era

Every French football fan remembers Fontaine for his exceptional performances in the 1958 World Cup which led France to secure the third position. The French team was so powerful and reached the semifinals of the tournament.

However, in the semifinal match, it lost to Brazil. Following that, it secured the third prize defeating West Germany; 6-3.

In that tournament, Fontaine scored 13 goals in just six matches which included four against West Germany. He still holds the record to score the highest number of goals in a single World Cup.

After two years, he helped France to a fourth in the first-ever UEFA Euro Nations Cup. Then, France’s performances started declining and revived after Michel Platini joined the national team in 1975.

Michel Platini Era

After Platini’s debut in the national team, France’s game slightly improved. They made it into the 1978 Argentina World Cup but failed to pass the group stage.

After four years, they returned to the 1982 World Cup and reached the semi-finals. In one of the best matches in World Cup history, France lost a match to West Germany on penalties. Subsequently, Poland defeated France in the third-place match.

Their great run continued to win the major championship. In the 1984 UEFA Nations Cup, they qualified for the first time. Platini and his fellow teammate Tigana Fernandez led France to win its first major trophy.

France national team 1984 Euro Champion
1984 Euro Champion French squad. Source: The 42

In the tournament, Platini became a hero by scoring nine goals which is still a record in a single competition.

This team also went on to participate in the 1986 World Cup with the same energy and motivation. But, the French team suffered a bad injury from Platini and Giresse, and they lost to West Germany in the semi-finals.

But, they were able to secure the third position defeating Belgium, 4-2. It was the second time the team earned Bronze medals in World Cup football. France did not qualify until the 1998 World Cup.

Zinedine Zidane Era (First World Champion)

After failing to qualify for the two World Cups regularly, the French team reformed the new team, and young footballer Zinedine Zidane came into the team, and captaincy was taken over by Didier Deschamps.

France easily qualified for the 1996 Euro Championship and finished the tournament as a quarter-finalist. In 1998, France received a chance to host the FIFA World Cup for the second time.

France national team at 1998 World Cup
1998 World Cup winning squad of France. Source: Goal.com

In the group stages, it easily coped with Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Likewise, it squeezed Paraguay into the knock-out stage. The French team defeated its rivals, Italy and Croatia in the quarter and semifinals.

In the finals, Zidane’s exceptional performances and two straight goals France squeezed the defending champions Brazil in the finals. Hence, France became the World Champions for the first time.

2000 Euro Championship

Their victory was not over there. They also participated in the 2000 Euro Championship. That time, another striker Thierry Henry came into the limelight due to his prolific games. The French team defeated Italy and became Euro Champions for the second time.

2000 Euro Champion team France
2000 Euro Champion (Second Time) French team with the trophy.
Source: History of Association Football

The French team also went to the 2002 World Cup expecting to secure the title a second time. Unfortunately, they did not cross the group stage.

France returned to the 2006 World Cup with a changed mindset and energy. That time, it was able to reach the finals but lost a final match to Italy. Following that, Henry and Zidane’s era ended and the team’s best days arrived only after 2015.

Second-Time World Champions (2018 World Cup)

In 2012, France’s first World Cup-winning captain Didier Deschamps took over the team as a manager. Then, he led the team in the 2014 World Cup.

It lost in the round of 16 matches against eventual winner Germany. Deschamps then led the team in the 2016 Euro Championship and increased many young talents in the teams.

They were close to winning the Euro Championship a third time, but in the final minute of the final match, Portugal led the game and scored a goal into France’s post.

Hence, France was satisfied with the second prize. In that tournament, French player Antoine Griezmann became the player of the year and the highest scorer.

After two years, many of the last Euro performers were on the team in the Russia World Cup. In the group stage, it defeated Australia and Peru and ended a goalless draw against Denmark.

Likewise, in the second round, France beat Argentina and secured a meeting against Uruguay in the next round.

France at 2018 World Cup final
Second Time World Champion team France national team (2018 World Cup). Source: Goal.com

In the quarter-finals of the tournament, it squeezed Uruguay and Belgium into the semifinals. In the finals of the tournament, it made a victorious win against Croatia, 4-2.

France became the second-time World Champions and became the sixth nation to hold multiple World Cup titles. The French player Kylian Mbappé became the best young player and Antoine Griezmann became a winner of the Silver Boot and Bronze Ball of the tournament.

Top Six Greatest French Players of All Time

Just Fontaine

Just Louis Fontaine is a former French footballer. He is a prolific forward and one of the greatest footballers in France. He is the only player to score the most goals in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup.

Fontaine won 21 caps from 1953 to 1960. Fontaine received the prestigious legendary footballer award Golden Football in 2003.

Michel Platini

Michel François Platini is a former footballer and football administrator. He was the sixth president of UEFA from 2007-2015. He is one of the greatest footballers ever born in France.

Platini won three Ballon d’Or consecutively from 1983 to 1985. He also earned UEFA European Championship player of the tournament in 1984. Platini scored 41 goals in 72 caps from 1976-1987.

Lilian Thuram

Ruddy Lilian Thuram-Ulien is a former French footballer. He is also one of the greatest French defenders of his generation. Thuram played for Monaco, Parma, Juventus, and FC Barcelona.

Thuram is the most capped player in France and won 142 caps. He represented France in three World Cups and one Euro Championship. Thuram won the Silver Ball in the 1998 FIFA World Cup football.

Zinedine Yazid Zidane

Zinedine Zidane is a former French footballer. He is one of the greatest players of all time in the soccer world. Zidane is famous for his play-making ability, vision, and ball control technique.

Zidane is also one of the successful managers of club football. He managed Real Madrid FC and won three consecutive UEFA Champions League (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18).

In 1998, he won the Ballon d’Or award for his outstanding performances at the FIFA World Cup.

Zidane helped France to lift the trophy of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA Euro Championship. In 2008, he received a legendary football award Golden Foot.

Thierry Daniel Henry

Thierry Henry is one of the greatest strikers of all time. He is a former footballer and current football coach. Henry currently serves as an assistant coach for the Belgium national team.

He played 123 caps from 1997-2010 for the national team and scored 51 goals which is the highest goal in the French national team.

Henry spent playing in Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, and Barcelona in his entire club career. He is one of the greatest EPL players in the history of the league.

In 2021, Henry was inducted into the inaugural Premier League Hall of Fame alongside English player Alan Shearer.

Karim Benzema

Karim Mostafa Benzema is one of the greatest strikers of all time. He is the second-highest goalscorer of the La Liga club Real Madrid.

Benzema has been playing for the nation since 2007. Benzema has won 97 caps and has scored 37 goals for the nation.

He won the UEFA Under 17 Championship in 2004 and UEFA Nations League in 2020-21 for the French team. Benzema also earned the Bronze Boot in the UEFA Nations League Finals in 2021.

Qatar World Cup 2022 France Squad

France did not need to play in the Qatar World Cup selection matches. It automatically qualified for being the champion of the last World Cup.

During the World Cup draw, France placed in Group D alongside rival Denmark, Australia, and Tunisia.

The French team will encounter Australia, in their first match on 22 November 2022 at Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah. The twenty-second World Cup starts on November 20, 2022, with a Qatar and Ecuador match.

The Defending champion team’s best squad will repeat in the upcoming World Cup. The French team will feature star players, and they will be in the field to secure their tournament titles for the third time. Hugo Lloris is the current captain of the team.

France will play a few UEFA Nations League group matches and friendly matches before moving to Qatar. In October 2022, France will announce their final playing squad.