France national football team

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France France
Nickname(s) Les Tricolores (The Tri-colors)
Association Fédération Française de Football (FFF)
Confederation EFU
FIFA ranking 6 Decrease 1 (31 December 1963)
Highest FIFA ranking 2 (1958, 1961)
Lowest FIFA ranking 6
First international  Belgium 3–3  France
(Brussels, Belgium; 1 May 1904)
Biggest defeat  Denmark 17–1  France
(London, England; 22 October 1908)
World Cup appearances 10 (First in 1906)
Best result Runner Up (1934, 1958)
European Nations Cup appearances 1 (First in 1956)
Best result Champions (1956)

The France national football team represents France is international association football. It is controlled by the Fédération Française de Football. France has qualified for 10 FIFA World Cups with their best result being runner-up at the 1934 and the 1958 editions. They have also qualified for one European Nations Cup where they won the first edition in 1956.

History[edit | edit source]

Early years[edit | edit source]

The France national football team was formed around the time that FIFA was formed in 1904. This was as they played their first match on May 1, 1904, against Belgium in Brussels with the nation getting a 3-3 draw. After joining FIFA, they would compete in the first FIFA World Cup as the host nation. For France, they would be drawn with Austria and Ireland in Group 3. After getting a nil all to draw in their opening game against Austria, they struggled against the Irish team with Thomas Waddell being the goalscorer for Ireland which would get the Irish the win and relegating the French to the bottom of the table.

After the national team slumped to the worst match to date at the 1908 Summer Olympics with the team losing by sixteen goals to Denmark with FIFA taking control of the national team instead of the USAFA that had been the case for the past four years. This would be followed by a first-round exit to Ireland at the 1910 FIFA World Cup in which FIFA controlled. USAFA still not happy with the ruling that occurs tried to fight the battle but the last attempting ended in misery as France sent a team to the 1914 FIFA World Cup in England where they finished second in Group D behind newcomers Italy to make the knockout stage for the first time. There, they would lose to England at London by a score of two goals to one.

Formation of new Federation[edit | edit source]

After the first World War ended in Europe, the French Football Federation was born from the ashes of the USAFA and with the national federation being more organised, the team started to put in some results their way. Entering the 1922 FIFA World Cup, they started in the quarter-finals where they would lose 3-2 to the eventual champions in Belgium despite a late comeback from Henri Larnoe and Ivan Thys. That international form continued at home as they were eliminated in the quarter-finals at the 1924 Summer Olympics on home soil when they were smashed five-nil to Uruguay.

France entered the qualification for the 1926 FIFA World Cup in Spain with some hopes of qualifying for the tournament. That simple hope though wouldn't be the case as they had to enter the playoffs after finishing behind Italy in their qualifying group. Heading to Egypt, they defeated Egypt by five goals with Jean Boyer getting a hat-trick to get France into the World Cup. In the World Cup, they were in Group C with Uruguay, Belgium and Sweden. Once again, they struggled at international level with the national team getting two draws against Belgium and Sweden but a lost to Uruguay would eliminate the national team again in the group stage. This would be followed by a first-round defeat to Italy in the following Olympic tournament

France's next tournament was qualifying for the 1930 FIFA World Cup with the national team being drawn in Group 1.2 with Egypt, Belgium and Portugal in the group. For the French, they would qualify as the group winners with the national team going three from three which included a five-one drubbing of Portugal. This meant that they qualified for the group stage, where they were drawn in Group C with the Netherlands, Argentina and the United States. For the French, they would fall at the first hurdle yet again as they finished with a win over the United States (2-0) and a draw against Argentina (1-1). But the loss to the Dutch sealed their fate once again as Argentina leapfrog them into second and knocking the French out of the tournament.

The next major tournament for France was the first edition of the WEFF Championship which was also the qualifier for the 1934 FIFA World Cup to be held in Italy. With the competition being held over the English channel, the French team was drawn in Group B with Portugal, Belgium and the hosts (England). After getting a one all draw against Portugal, the French got lucky as an own goal from Alfred Strange gave France the victory over the hosts in Nottingham. This put them in the box seat to qualify and they would make the semis after defeating Belgium 3-1 with Jean Nicolas scoring a double. After knocking off the Netherlands in the semi-final, they would defeat Wales in the final to secure their first trophy and a spot at the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

Being drawn into Group B with Italy, Irish Free State and Belgium, the national team finished in second with a win over Belgium, followed by two draws against Irish Free State and Italy gave them a spot into the quarters where they took on Argentina. Throughout the match, Argentina controlled most of the game and almost had Alberto Galateo getting a goal to give them in the lead in the 55th minute of play. But the French held off on that and an eighty-fifth-minute strike from Georges Verriest gave the French a spot into the semis. After defeating Wales 3-0 in the semis, they verse Italy in the final for a shot to be champion. With the crowd against them, the national team would lose by a single goal from Giuseppe Meazza with the national team finishing runner-up (which was also their best result at the time)

Success comes long and hard[edit | edit source]

After taking out the 1935 WEFF Championship, the national team headed to Germany for the 1936 Summer Olympics in confidence of taking the gold medal. Their first round being against Germany would be where they lasted with Georges Verriest scoring the only goal for France in the 3-1 defeat. The next tournament was qualifying for the 1938 FIFA World Cup in Argentina. The group which also a part of the 1937 WEFF Championship included Netherlands, Portugal and Luxembourg. For France, they could only get the single win against Luxembourg to finish in third place and not make the FIFA World Cup for the first time in eight attempts.

After the Second World War ended, the national team competed at the eight-team Victory International Cup with teams that were on the winning side in the war. Finishing second in Group B behind Yugoslavia, they made the final after defeating Norway by two goals. Their opponent in the final being against Yugoslavia and with the French having the luck on their side, André Strappe would score the winning goal for France to give the French the title by a goal over Yugoslavia.

The golden generation of France started at the 1948 Summer Olympics in the United Kingdom with the French making it all the way to the semi-final where they once again met Yugoslavia in a tournament match. Unlike the second match of these two, this time it would go to Yugoslavia with Yugoslavia getting a 3-0 win and a spot in the gold medal match. In the bronze medal match, France defeated Egypt 2-0 to equalise their best result at an Olympic Games. Qualifying through their group, they were drawn into Group C with Brazil, Denmark, Costa Rica and Spain in the group.

After two comfortable victories against Costa Rica and Denmark, they got a draw against Spain to qualify for the quarter-finals as the second team in Group C. The other team being Brazil in which the French would lose their final match of the group. In the quarter-final, they went behind in the 62nd minute with Ernesto Vidal scoring the goal. But France came back into the match with goals from Henri Baillot and Jean Baratte got France over the line and into the semis where they lose their semi against the Great Britain, before finishing in fourth place after losing to Norway.

Their 1952 campaign was short lived with them being knocked out by Poland in the opening round of the competition. The 1954 qualification journey was a good run for France with the national team being unbeaten in a group which featured West Germany and Belgium. The national team would be drawn into Group C with Romania, Korea and the Soviet Union. Opening their account with a draw against the Soviets, they would go and defeat Korea 5-0 with Just Fontaine scoring a hat-trick in the result. In the final game against Romania, they would lose against them 3-0 to finish in third place and be knocked-out from the competition with the Soviets leapfrogging them after defeating Korea at Valdivia.

Following the disappointing result in Switzerland, France competed in qualifying for the first edition of the European competition. France drew Austria in the opening round and they won 2-1 on aggregate to meet the Netherlands in the quarter-finals where they won 2-0 on aggregate. In the finals' tournament, they took on Turkey with Michel Leblond scoring a double in the 3-0 victory to qualify for the final. In the final, France took control against the 1954 World Cup runner-up's in Romania with France getting the title with a 2-0 victory and becoming the first team to win the European Nations Cup.

France qualified for the 1958 FIFA World Cup after finishing top of their group which featured East Germany, Finland and Luxembourg. In the group stage, they were drawn to meet Yugoslavia once again to join with two unfamiliar national teams in Turkey and Canada. For the French, they finished top of the group with them getting three from three. After destroying Hungary in the quarter-finals, five-nil, France would make their second World Cup final as Roger Piantoni and Just Fontaine scored the goals in a 2-1 victory to qualify for their second World Cup final. But they wouldn't take out the title with the French struggling against Brazil as they would lose 4-1 in the final.

The next major tournament that France competed in was the 1960 European Nations' Cup. After dispatching Spain and Bulgaria in the qualifiers, they would be eliminated in the semi-finals to Czechoslovakia by three goals with François Heutte scoring the only goal in the 1-0 win over Romania in the third-place playoff. After starting off with a shaky start against Bulgaria in the 1962 World Cup qualifiers, they would qualify through to the finals as one of the best second-place teams. After comfortably getting through the group stage with three goals from both Maryan Wisniewski and Raymond Kopa, they would be eliminated in the quarter-finals to Great Britain as the British came from behind to win the match 2-1.

Competitive record[edit | edit source]

FIFA World Cup[edit | edit source]

     Gold       Silver       Bronze  

FIFA World Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA
France 1906 Group Stage 9th 2 0 1 1 0 1
1910 Round 1 10th 1 0 1 0 1 1
England 1914 Quarter Finalist 7th 4 2 0 2 6 6
Netherlands 1922 Quarter Finalist 7th 1 0 0 1 2 3
Spain 1926 Group Stage 12th 3 0 2 1 3 6
Uruguay 1930 Group Stage 9th 3 1 1 1 4 3
Italy 1934 Runner Up 2nd 6 3 2 1 6 4
Argentina 1938 Did Not Qualify
Sweden 1950 Semi Finalist 4th 7 3 2 2 12 8
Chile 1954 Group Stage 9th 3 1 1 1 6 4
Switzerland 1958 Runner Up 2nd 6 5 0 1 20 7
Mexico 1962 Quarter Finals 5th 4 3 0 1 8 2
Total Runner Up 11/12 40 18 10 12 68 45

European Nations Cup[edit | edit source]

     Gold       Silver       Bronze  

European Nations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA
France 1956 Champions 1st 2 2 0 0 5 0
Czechoslovakia 1960 Third Place 3rd 2 1 0 1 1 3

External Links[edit | edit source]

Template:Football in France

Template:National sports teams of France