French National Football Team
France have won the World Cup once, in 1998 , and reached the final in 2006 , only to lose on penalties. They have won two European Championships, in 1984 and 2000. France is generally thought to have had two great generations of football players, one in the 80s led by Michel Platini, and one in the late 90s led by Zinedine Zidane.
France were one of only four European teams to enter the first World Cup. In the 1958 World Cup , the French side reached the semi finals, only to lose 5-2 to Brazil, who went on to win the tournament. Following this, France failed to make much of a showing internationally until the 80s, which saw the team rise to greatness under the guidance of manager Michel Hidalgo and thanks in no small part to the talents of midfielder Michel Platini. France reached the semi finals in 1982, losing to West Germany in a legendary match marred by the controversial failure of the referee to send off German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher after a brutal tackle in which he knocked French player Patrick Battiston unconscious and caused so much damage the player fell into a coma. France then won the European Championship in 1984 but failed to win the World Cup in 1986 , despite being the favourites, again losing to West Germany in the semi finals. World Cup success eluded France until 1998, when a team led by Zinedine Zidane defeated Brazil 3-0 in the final. They reached the final again in 2006, but lost to Italy on penalties. The match is best remembered for Zidane's headbutt against an Italian defender that led to him being sent off in his final international match.
The current French side are considered much weaker than the team that reached the final in 2006, with Zidane and many of their best players retired. They struggled to qualify, only scraping through with a controversial play-off victory over Ireland, where the winning goal was scored after the referee failed to notice a handball.
2010 World Cup
France are drawn in Group A, with South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.
Famous French Football Players
A World Cup and European Championship winner with France, a Champions League winner with Real Madrid , and a three times World Player of the Year, Zidane is generally thought of as one of the greatest players of all time. In 2006 he starred in an experimental documentary , which filmed only him over the course of a match.
One of the great French players, Platini led the side to the European Championship in 1984 , and was unlucky not to reach the World Cup finals in '82 and '86. He won a European Cup with Juventus , but the final was marred by the tragic Heysel Stadium disaster . He is currently president of UEFA .
The former Arsenal star and top goal scorer of all time for France, Henry is one of the most famous footballers in the world, appearing frequently in advertising campaigns. Currently plays for Barcelona , where in 2009 he helped them win the Champions League and an unprecedented 5 other titles.