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France

France - Brazil World Cup 2014

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FIFA World Cup finals history

France have always commanded respect on the global stage thanks to various legendary players and impressive performances dating back to 1930, but they made the leap to a whole new level in 1998. Whereas Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Co experienced agony at the semi-final stage in 1982 and 1986, the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps finally took Les Bleus all the way, lifting the Trophy on home soil. That was followed by a surprise group-stage exit four years later, but they came close to adding a second star to their shirts in 2006, only losing out on penalties to Italy in the Final. Without ‘Zizou’ in their ranks, France then made a forgettable tilt at South Africa 2010, disappointing their supporters both on and off the pitch.

The key players
France boast solidity and strength in depth at the back, with a pair of top-drawer goalkeepers in Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda and a rearguard bolstered by the European experience of Eric Abidal, Laurent Koscielny and Raphael Varane. Further forward, Franck Ribery can produce moments of magic, while Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud both possess a keen eye for goal.

Coach: Didier Deschamps
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup France 1998 (Winners), Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Los Angeles 1984 (Winners), FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001, France 2003 (Winners), FIFA U-17 World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2001 (Winners), and FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2005 (Winners)
Former stars: Just Fontaine, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane