FIFA World Cup™ finals history
France supplied the first ever goalscorer in FIFA World Cup history in Lucien Laurent, who broke the deadlock against Mexico in the Opening Match at Uruguay 1930. However, Les Bleus were unable to get out of their group on that occasion and indeed would have to wait until 1958 to progress as far as the semi-finals – a feat they then repeated in 1982 and 1986. It was at the 1998 tournament, which they hosted, that France finally tasted world glory with Zinedine Zidane's brace inspiring a 3-0 Final victory over Brazil. The talismanic midfielder led his country to the deciding game once again in 2006, but went from hero to villain when he was sent off prior to the penalty shoot-out loss to Italy. Following a total washout in 2010, the French restored some pride with a promising quarter-final showing at Brazil 2014.
The fiasco both on and off the pitch in 2010 helped pave the way for a talented new crop headed by the likes of Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane to make the breakthrough at Brazil 2014. Accompanied by more experienced heads like Karim Benzema, these World Cup rookies performed commendably and were only beaten by eventual winners Germany in the quarter-finals. There are high hopes that this emerging group will reach the heights scaled by the country's golden generations over the last few decades. France's performance at UEFA EURO 2016, where they were hosts, could serve as an indicator as to their potential. The French were left disappointed in the end as they fell at the last hurdle 1-0 after extra time against Portugal in the final. They will be looking to rebound on the road to Russia 2018.
Didier Deschamps had the honour of lifting the famous Trophy as national team captain on 12 July 1998. A great leader during his playing days, he took the reins in 2012 and has sought to instil his winning mentality while striving to forge a tight-knit unit that is more than the sum of its impressive parts.
5 - After failing to make it to Italy 1990 and USA 1994, France have qualified for the last five World Cups on the bounce.
Just Fontaine, Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet