France
© Getty Images

The past
France are making their debut at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament after reaching the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™. In their only previous world finals appearance, at USA 2003, Les Bleues went out in the first round, thus missing out on the chance to qualify for Athens 2004.

The present
France have made solid progress since the appointment of Bruno Bini as coach in 2007, winning their first international title at the Cyprus Women’s Cup in March 2012. Their 2-0 defeat of Canada in the final was their 12th win in a row, their last reverse coming against Sweden in the match for third place at Germany 2011. In the process Bini has put together a tight-knit unit made up of experienced campaigners and up-and-coming talents, based largely around the Lyon side which recently won the French title for the sixth season in a row and secured a second consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League.  

The future

Les Tricolores made light of their relatively poor record in major international competitions by finishing fourth at Germany 2011. Bolstered by that success, they have high hopes for London 2012, as coach Bini explained: “We’ve got our sights set on a medal and even becoming Olympic champions. We’ve got a good team, as we showed at the World Cup last year.”

Facts and figures
Former stars
Marinette Pichon (forward), Corinne Diacre (defender), Hoda Lattaf (forward), Stephanie Mugneret-Beghe (midfielder).

Key players
Sonia Bompastor (defender), Louisa Necib (midfielder), Gaetane Thiney (midfielder), Marie-Laure Delie (forward).

Qualifying statistics
France earned their place at London 2012 by reaching the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.

The stat
142 - The record number of caps won by Lilian Thuram for France’s national men’s team, a mark eclipsed by Sandrine Soubeyrand in 2009 and by Sonia Bompastor this year.