French national football team

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nickname (s) Les Bleus (The Blues)
Association Fédération Française de Football
confederacy UEFA
Technical sponsor Nike
Head coach Didier Deschamps
Assistant coach Guy Stéphan
Record scorer Thierry Henry (51)
Record player Lilian Thuram (142)
Home stadium Stade de France
FIFA rank 2. (1726 points)
As of June 11, 2020
First jersey
Second jersey
First international match Belgium 3-3 France ( Brussels , Belgium ; May 1, 1904)
Biggest win
France 10-0 Azerbaijan ( Auxerre , France ; September 6, 1995) AzerbaijanAzerbaijan
Biggest defeat Denmark 17-1 France ( London , England ; October 19, 1908)
Successes in tournaments
World Championship
Participation in the finals 15 ( first : 1930 )
Best results Winner 1998 , 2018
European Championship
Participation in the finals 8 ( first : 1960 )
Best results Winner 1984 , 2000
Confederations Cup
Participation in the finals 5 ( first : 1997 )
Best results Winner 2001 , 2003
(As of November 17, 2019)

The French national soccer team for men , often called Les Bleus (after the traditional blue jerseys) or in German-speaking media Équipe Tricolore (after the flag of France ), is one of the most successful national teams in soccer . Due to its personal composition, the neologism "black-blanc-beur" ("black, white, Maghrebian ") developed from 1998 onwards, based on the colors of the national flag (bleu-blanc-rouge ).

So far, France has won two world (1998, 2018) and two European titles (1984, 2000) as well as twice the Confederations Cup (2001, 2003). Besides the Brazilian Seleção, the national team is the only one that has submitted a report for all previous world championships. However, in contrast to Brazil , the Bleus failed several times in the World Cup qualifying tournaments or did not participate in the finals (so 1950). France also hosted the finals of continental tournaments early on, namely the third world championship in 1938 and the first European championship in 1960.

Its official international history begins in 1904; However, there have been international matches since the turn of the century, organized by the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA), the national football association with the largest number of members up until the First World War . The USFSA represented the country until 1908 in the world association FIFA , which it co-founded ; from 1909 it replaced the umbrella organization of the competing associations , the Comité Français Interfédéral . With the unification of all French football organizations in 1919, the Fédération Française de Football (FFF, until about 1940 officially Fédération Française de Football Association or FFFA) took over its role.

The FFF currently has 860 official senior international matches against 87 opponents from all continental federations of FIFA; according to other counts, however, the actual number deviates from this because at different times individual "training encounters", games against teams from France's former colonies, continental selections and even club teams were rated as official. By far the most common opponent is Belgium, followed by England, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. The French usually play their home games in one of the large stadiums in the Paris metropolitan area; since 1998 the Stade de France in Saint-Denis has been the “national stadium” (see below ) . Didier Deschamps has been training the national team since July 2012 .

In addition to the senior national team, there is also a B-Elf, known in France as the Équipe A ' since the 1980s . This should serve to introduce players to the circle of the respective "first choice" and usually contests their encounters one day before an international A match; however, it has only been compiled very sporadically in recent years. Between 1922 and 1968, however, she regularly played international games.


Precursors and early years until 1919

year competition Participation
1900 Olympic Games in Paris Second
1908 Olympic Games in London Semifinals
1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm called off
France's team at the 1900 Olympic Games
Scene from the international match against Switzerland (1905)

As early as 1893, a Paris national team played an international game against the London amateur club team Marylebone FC ; the Paris team was mainly composed of English people living there who played for clubs like White Rovers and Standard AC , but also French from Club Français , and lost 3-0. Between 1900 and 1904, USFSA teams competed five times against national teams from Belgium and England, two of them on the occasion of the soccer demonstration competition at the 1900 Summer Olympics on the sidelines of the World Exhibition in Paris ; the Club Français represented the French colors. A  club team (the White Rovers) also played against a selection from Germany - the games are among the so-called German original international games - in December 1898 and lost 7-0; a Paris city selection achieved a 1: 2 the next day. However, these encounters do not count as official internationals. Even if they were still under the direction of the predecessors of today's FFF , these are only those games that have been played since FIFA was founded.

The very first of these official international matches took place on May 1, 1904 in front of 1,500 spectators at the Vivier d'Oie in Brussels against Belgium and ended with a 3: 3. The first home game of the selection was their second international match on February 12, 1905: 500 spectators at Parc des Princes saw the hosts win 1-0 over Switzerland . The national team wore blue jerseys - albeit initially with white vertical stripes - for the first time when they met England on March 23, 1908 in London, the eighth official international match, and this color has remained that to this day, despite a significant 0:12 defeat Trademark of the Bleus . Since 1910 the Gallic rooster (coq gaulois) also adorned her dress. The international match against Belgium in Lille in January 1914 was the first home game that was not played in the greater Paris area.

The performance of the French team suffered in this early period from the fact that the selection of the national team was subject to several irrelevant considerations: one of them was the association's proporz, according to which each member association in the Comité Français Interfédéral was awarded a fixed number of players. And until 1913 the active members of the association with the largest number of members, the USFSA, were excluded from this, which only then joined the CFI and was initially only allocated a single place in the team. In addition, most of the players were pure amateurs who could not afford to be absent from work for longer and longer. After all, the Comité had a certain disdain for players who were not from Paris, although "provincial clubs" from northern France , Normandy and the Mediterranean made up some of the most successful pre-war club teams . The team and association officials usually met at a Paris train station to travel to the venue, often only on the morning of the match; There was no more training camp than a permanent trainer. For all these reasons there were hardly ever two games in which the same eleven footballers were called up, so that no well-rehearsed team could come together; In 1911, Jean Rigal was the first Frenchman to make ten missions. Pierre Allemane , Gaston Barreau , Fernand Canelle , Jean-Baptiste Ducret , Lucien Gamblin , Gabriel Hanot , Eugène Maës , Louis Mesnier and goalkeeper Pierre Chayriguès were among the more frequently used "greats" in blue dress .

Between May 1914 and March 1919, France did not play a single international match; however, numerous matches between French, British and Belgian military teams took place during and immediately after the war. Up until the founding of the FFF there were a total of 37 official international matches, of which France won eleven with a total goal difference of 61: 165, drew five times and conceded 21 defeats. In addition to Belgium (12) and Switzerland (6), the Equipe Tricolore played against England (6, always an amateur selection), Italy (5), Luxembourg (3), Denmark , Hungary (2 each) and the Netherlands (1) . Against the Danes (0: 9 and 1:17 at the 1908 Olympics) and especially against England (0:15, 0:12, 0:11 and 1:10 between 1906 and 1910 - in view of these results, the 0: 3 of 1911 and the 1: 4 of 1913 already counted as successes) there were particularly heavy defeats; Denmark was even referred to as the “French nightmare(cauchemar) . The biggest victory was an 8-0 victory over Luxembourg (1913); however, the most important success of this phase is the 4: 3, with which the French were able to prevail against Italy in Turin in 1912 .

Between the world wars

year competition Participation
1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp Semifinals
1924 Olympic Games in Paris Quarter finals
1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam Round of 16
1930 World Cup in Uruguay ( squad ) Preliminary round
1934 World Cup in Italy ( squad ) Round of 16
1938 World Cup in France ( squad ) Quarter finals

The Fédération Française de Football Association introduced fixed structures for the national team and player selection for the first time in the year it was founded (see below ) . For almost four decades, ex-national player Gaston Barreau in particular, as a sélectionneur , determined who was allowed to wear the blue dress. For the first time in 1930 - but from then on only at the World Cup finals - the association also appointed a coach, and in 1934 even an Englishman, Sid Kimpton, as an exception. As in many other Central European countries, interest in football increased sharply in France after the World War. Responsible for this broadening of the social base deep into the working class was the important role played by the practice of this sport between the trenches - often together with British soldiers - but also the slowly improving working conditions, especially in industry.

Even if the first international match of this period in Italy was lost 4: 9 and the semi-final defeat against Czechoslovakia in the 1920 Olympic tournament only resulted in brief reports outside the specialist press, a year later 30,000 paying spectators lived in the Stade Pershing an early first Triumph of the Bleus and celebrated exactly on Napoléon's one hundredth anniversary of his death, the 2-1 victory against "teacher England", who, as usual, had only sent his amateur national team to the continent. In 1923, the English association then sent its professional selection to Paris for the first time, which the hosts understood as a "sign of growing respect"; the match ended befittingly with a French 1: 4 defeat.

With René Petit from Stade Bordeaux UC , a player who did not come from one of the early football strongholds was used for the first time in 1920. From the mid-1920s onwards, players who had grown up in France's North African possessions , such as Alexandre Villaplane , Joseph Alcazar or Mario Zatelli , were increasingly considered . As the first dark-skinned footballer, Raoul Diagne came to France in 1931 to international honor; he was followed in 1937 by Abdelkader Ben Bouali and in 1938 with Larbi Ben Barek a "black pearl" ( pearl noire) , which was placed on a par with José Leandro Andrade from Uruguay and the Brazilian Leônidas da Silva . In the second half of the 1930s, the number of naturalized or naturalized national players increased - until 1939 a total of 21. These were mainly Austrians and Hungarians like "Gusti" Jordan , Rudi Hiden and Edmund Weiskopf , but also other Central Europeans and South Americans, e.g. Héctor Cazenave , as well as Spaniards who fled the civil war . At least since then, “the national team has reflected the history of French immigration”.

The selection of opponents also expanded: by the mid-1920s, playing partners from Spain , Ireland , Norway and Latvia were added from all corners of the continent, as well as Austria, probably the strongest European team, and Uruguay, on the occasion of the Olympic soccer tournament in 1924, the first non-European team . In 1928 the senior national team represented France for the last time at the Summer Olympics; due to the introduction of professionalism (1932) it was then replaced by the amateur national team .

Lucien Laurent and Marcel Langiller at the 1930 World Cup

In 1930 France was one of only four European participants to undertake the long and expensive boat trip to South America in order to take part in the first soccer World Cup; After the finals against Mexico , Argentina and Chile , the French players from Montevideo continued to Rio de Janeiro to compete with Brazil , for which Arthur Friedenreich scored the 3-2 final score, while the first footballer to win a World Cup Goal, Lucien Laurent from CA Paris , this time came away empty-handed.

On the other hand, due to the difficult relationship between the two neighboring countries (“ hereditary enmity ”), despite some political rapprochement , it would take until 1931 before the first friendly battle between the Bleus and the German national team took place. This already 103rd official international match of the French, which was decided in favor of the host by an own goal by Reinhold Münzenberg , saw a good 40,000 spectators at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes . Three more encounters followed by 1937, two of them in Germany.

In 1938 France organized the third World Cup finals, in which the national team had to give up in the quarter-finals against Italy. From September 1939, the outbreak of the Second World War , the German invasion of France (May / June 1940) and the subsequent occupation, along with a division of the country into two parts, paralyzed international sports: between January 1940 and December 1944, the Equipe Tricolore only played two international matches Teams from neutral countries (in March 1942 against Switzerland and Spain). Overall, under the aegis of the FFFA, the overall sporting balance developed only slightly better than in the early years under the aegis of the FFFA: with 122 international matches, 38 wins, twelve draws and 72 defeats, from the 1920s (14/4/36) to the 1930s and early 1940s (24/8/36) a slight upward trend can be seen. There was also only one double-digit defeat, namely in 1927 with 1:13 against Hungary ; the absolute "fear opponents" of this period, however, developed the Czechoslovaks, against whom they lost seven times for the first time at the Olympics in 1920 and then between 1928 and 1936 - five of them in front of a home crowd - with a goal difference of 5:20.

From the end of World War II to the “golden generation” of the 1950s

year competition Participation
1950 World Cup in Brazil waived
1954 World Cup in Switzerland ( squad ) Preliminary round
1958 World Cup in Sweden ( squad ) Third
1960 European Championship in France ( squad ) Fourth
Jean Baratte (1949)
Robert Jonquet (1949)

On Christmas 1944, shortly after the liberation of the capital , international games against Belgium were resumed; an away match in Switzerland followed, also before the end of the war. From the 1950/51 season, the national team received a permanent coach, even if he was still employed full-time at a professional club and the last word on the team line-up in case of doubt was with Sélectionneur Barreau or his successor Paul Nicolas . In particular against the British and Czechoslovaks, who were almost overwhelming before the war, the Bleus proved to be of equal value in this phase. Against the British there were two home wins (1946 and 1955) and two draws even in the "motherland of football" (1945 and 1951, 2: 2 each), and the team from the CSR had lost its horror: from 1946 to 1949 The French won all three games before their opponents were able to turn the tables again at the European Championship finals in 1960. The most prominent players of the first post-war years were primarily those who had made a name for themselves by 1939, such as Julien Darui , Alfred Aston , Larbi Ben Barek, Oscar Heisserer , Jules Bigot , but also younger ones such as Jean Baratte , Ernest Vaast , Émile Bongiorni or René Bihel . These included the sons or grandsons of Poles and Italians who immigrated to the mining regions of northern France and Lorraine . For those national players who were hired by a foreign club - at that time still a very manageable number: Ben Barek, Bongiorni, Marcel Domingo , Louis Hon , Antoine Bonifaci and, only from the second half of the 1950s, Raymond Kopaszewski ("Kopa") and Maryan Wisnieski  - this step brought an end or at least an interruption to her national team career; in this the FFF did not differ from other Western European associations. Conversely, at an international match in Dublin in 1952 , the Bleus faced the allegation in the Irish press that this was not a French team at all, but "a ' foreign legion ' with all its Italians, Hungarians and Poles ".

During the Cold War period, France played its first friendly matches against the USSR national team in 1955 (2-2 in Moscow ) and 1956 (2-1 home win). International matches between the French and (West) Germans had resumed since 1952, and the French team also proved themselves against the 1954 world champions: in 1952 in front of their own audience and in October 1954 in Hanover , there were 3-1 wins each, and the Third post-war encounter at the World Cup finals in 1958 even ended with a 6: 3 success, which secured third place and thus the best placement for the French at an international tournament. At this World Cup, the international experts named the French national team in the same breath as the victorious Brazilians and provided the best player in director Raymond Kopa and the most successful goal scorer ever at a World Cup tournament with center forward Just Fontaine . Two years later, the Bleus also qualified for the first European championship final, which was then held in France. There, the so-called "golden generation" (génération dorée) , whose players, who were mainly born around 1930, had mostly played together under national and club coach Albert Batteux at least temporarily at Stade Reims , had already passed their zenith. In addition to Kopa and Fontaine, these included players such as Thadée Cisowski , Yvon Douis , Léon Glovacki , Robert Jonquet , Raymond Kaelbel , André Lerond , Jean-Jacques Marcel , Roger Marche , Armand Penverne , Roger Franç Piantoni , goalkeeperois Remetter , André Strappe , Joseph Ujlaki , Jean Vincent and Mustapha Zitouni .

The decade and a half since the end of the war were characterized by a positive balance for the first time: France won 49 of 104 international A matches, drew 21 times and lost only 34. The national team played particularly successfully after the World Cup finals in 1954 until immediately before the first European Championship. 1960 finals; there were 22 wins in eleven draws and only nine defeats to book. During this time he won the military world championship (July 1957 in Argentina), in which a number of national A national players ( Cossou , Douis, Ferrier , Fulgenzy , Mekhloufi , Siatka , Szkudlapski , Wendling , Wisnieski) participated.

However, in the 1950s a new feared opponent developed with Yugoslavia , who had not presented an insurmountable hurdle before the Second World War, when the Bleus were victorious in three out of five games between 1926 and 1936. From 1949 to 1960, however, there were nine games, of which France lost five and won only one. This balance becomes even more bleak if you only consider the competitive games. In qualifying for the 1950 World Cup , they initially drew twice (1: 1 each) before the kickers from the Balkans won the playoff in Florence 3-2 after extra time and the French were eliminated. At the World Cup finals in 1954 and 1958, both met in a preliminary group - France lost 0-1 and 2-3 respectively. And in the semifinals of the first European championship in 1960, the eleven lost in Paris - after a 4-2 lead - 4: 5. Since then, the Yugoslavs have been considered the “black beast” (bête noire) of the French team - and the term was used again in 2008 when Serbia relegated France to second place in the qualifying group for South Africa .

Relapse into second class

year competition Participation
1962 World Championship in Chile not agonizing
1964 European championship in Spain not agonizing
1966 World Cup in England ( squad ) Preliminary round
1968 European Championship in Italy not agonizing
1970 World Championship in Mexico not agonizing
1972 European championship in Belgium not agonizing
1974 World Championship in Germany not agonizing
1976 European Championship in Yugoslavia not agonizing

In the following years, the Équipe tricolore once again went through a “valley of tears”, also known as the “gray years”. Apart from participating in the 1966 World Cup, she was unable to qualify for any of the major tournaments and had to successively have to Bulgaria (1962 World Cup, 1972 European Championship), Hungary (1964 Euro, 1972 Euro), Yugoslavia (1968 Euro), Sweden (1970 World Cup). , the USSR and Ireland (both 1974 World Cup), Belgium and the GDR (both 1976 Euro) give way - mostly teams that are not necessarily among the very strongest in Europe. On the way to the World Cup in England, the French eliminated fearful opponents Yugoslavia; there they only got the last place in their preliminary group because they lost to the hosts and Uruguay and only managed to wrest a point from Mexico.

This international weakness was accompanied by a series of structural and personal upheavals in French football, which were also reflected in the club teams' less sustainable appearances in the European Cup. A total of eight national coaches, who had been solely responsible since 1964, looked after the respective selection teams, sometimes for a very short period of time. Attempts with the internationally rapidly advancing game systems alternated in quick succession, but the Bleus "tended to run after developments". A few outstanding player personalities such as Robert Herbin , Henri Michel or Georges Bereta were also not enough to form a team around them that could keep up with the European top in the long term. And a goal-scoring playmaker like Rachid Mekhloufi, who was named best player of the season three times after his return to Division 1 (1962) , was no longer available for France because he had publicly acknowledged his country of birth since the Algerian War .

The overall balance of this period was correspondingly negative: From mid-1960 to the end of 1975 France won 35 games, drew 24 times, but lost 45 games. In terms of outstanding games, only three are named - in 1963 a 2: 3 against Brazil that was nevertheless positive and a 5: 2 over England in the European Championship qualification , plus a 4: 3 in Argentina in 1971 - while the rest of them, including a 1: 5 against Yugoslavia (1968), rather terms like “tragedy”, “slap in the face”, “black year” or “back to the wall” were printed. Regardless of the decreasing performance of the A-Elf, the FFF even created a national team for second division players in 1962 (Équipe de France de Deuxième Division) ; this carried out half a dozen games against its Italian counterpart, as well as several games against local regional selections, before it stopped playing again in 1965.

The "glorious four" from 1976 to 1986

year competition Participation
1978 World Cup in Argentina ( squad ) Preliminary round
1980 European Championship in Italy not agonizing
1982 World Cup in Spain ( squad ) Fourth
1984 European Championship in France ( squad ) First
1986 World Cup in Mexico ( squad ) Third

When Michel Hidalgo, a coach who, as a player, had belonged to the "golden generation", took over the reins in 1976, the systematic talent scouting and youth development measures that had been implemented across the country since 1970 in particular by Georges Boulogne began to have a positive effect In 1988 the training center opened in Clairefontaine ( Center technique national Fernand-Sastre ) found a place that the national team has been using regularly since then. This sporting development found its counterpart in club football in the growing importance of AS Saint-Étienne on a European level. Under Hidalgo and his successor Henri Michel (1984-1988), the Equipe Tricolore was not only able to qualify again regularly for major international tournaments, but even finish three of these four finals with top placements. Because of the four participations, this period is also known as "The glorious four" (French les quatre glorieuses ).

It is true that the Bleus had to return home after the group games in their first World Cup participation in twelve years, the final in Argentina, and also missed the European Championship finals in 1980. But after that, the “ Platini gang”, named after their leading figure (la bande à Platini) in 1982 in Spain and 1986 in Mexico, the World Cup semi-finals. In it she met her German competitor, to whom she lost both times; but especially their appearance in Seville (3: 3 a.s., 4: 5 on penalties) left a lasting impression. Four years later she was, u. a. after victories over Italy and Brazil, like 1958 third of the tournament. At the European Championship in 1984 in their own country, the team then managed their first title win, winning all five games (against Denmark, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Spain). The "magical midfield square" with Michel Platini, as director and nine-time goalscorer in outstanding form, Alain Giresse , Jean Tigana and Luis Fernández, formed the core of a grown formation. Goalkeeper Joël Bats , defenders Patrick Battiston , Maxime Bossis , Jean-François Domergue , Yvon Le Roux , strikers Bernard Lacombe , Bruno Bellone and Didier Six and, as supplementary players , Manuel Amoros , Daniel Bravo , Jean-Marc Ferreri and Bernard were grouped around them Genghini , Thierry Tusseau , Dominique Rocheteau ; In addition, the goalkeepers Philippe Bergeroo and Albert Rust , who were the only ones who did not have a minute of use, were in the squad . In 1985, France won the first ever Intercontinental Cup for national teams ( Artemio Franchi Cup ) by beating the reigning Copa America title holder Uruguay 2-0.

Under Hidalgo and Michel, the A-Elf remained victorious 58 times, drew 27 times and lost only 27 games. The two years after the 1982 World Cup were particularly successful, when the French recorded twelve wins, four draws and only two defeats - in August 1982 against Poland and in September 1983 against Denmark. Hidalgo was also the first French national coach to make a dark-skinned player the team captain , namely Marius Trésor in October 1976.

The long way to the top of the world

year competition Participation
1988 European Championship in Germany not agonizing
1990 World Championship in Italy not agonizing
1992 European Championship in Sweden ( squad ) Preliminary round
1994 World Championship in the USA not agonizing
1996 European Championship in England ( squad ) Semifinals
1997 Confederation Cup in Saudi Arabia not agonizing
1998 World Cup in France ( squad ) First
1999 Confederate Cup in Mexico waived
2000 European Championship in Belgium / Netherlands ( squad ) First
2001 Confederation Cup in Japan / South Korea ( squad ) First
2002 World Championship in Japan / South Korea ( squad ) Preliminary round
2003 Confederation Cup in France ( squad ) First
2004 European Championship in Portugal ( squad ) Quarter finals
2005 Confederation Cup in Germany not agonizing
2006 World Cup in Germany ( squad ) Second
France and Italy before the Euro 2000 final

After the core of this team had ended their career, a dry spell followed, in which the qualification for the European Championship in 1988 and the World Championships in 1990 and 1994 failed. At the European Championships in 1992, France dropped out early.

It was not until the European Championships in 1996 that the Equipe Tricolore advanced again far in a tournament, prevailing against Spain, Bulgaria, Romania and the Netherlands, but missed the final against the Czechs . Nevertheless, coach Aimé Jacquet already had the structure of the team with which he would win the world title two years later. In the 1990s, a development began that contributed to the increase in performance: more and more national players were under contract with clubs from the leagues in neighboring countries, initially mainly in the Italian , then also in the English and then the Spanish League. On the other hand, regular players from across the Rhine have only rarely been drawn to the Bundesliga ; Bixente Lizarazu was one of the first in 1997.

Zinédine Zidane (2003)

At the 1998 World Cup in their own country, the Bleus marched confidently through their preliminary round group, then prevailed a little more laboriously against Paraguay , Italy and Croatia and clearly beat the favored Brazilian team 3-0 in the final. The cornerstones of the team were goalkeeper Fabien Barthez , defender and team captain Laurent Blanc and the outstanding director Zinédine Zidane , worthy successor to Raymond Kopa and Michel Platini. Together with Marcel Desailly , Lilian Thuram , Bixente Lizarazu, Youri Djorkaeff , Didier Deschamps , Emmanuel Petit , Alain Boghossian , Christian Karembeu , Stéphane Guivarc'h , Thierry Henry , David Trezeguet and the supplementary players Frank Lebœuf , Vincent Candela , Bernard Diomède , Robert Pires , Patrick Vieira and Christophe Dugarry they formed an insurmountable team in these weeks. As with the European Championship title in 1984, only the second and third goalkeepers ( Lionel Charbonnier , Bernard Lama ) were not used at all. In the run-up to this tournament, an official national team fan club was founded with the support of the FFF; on the other hand, the well-known battle cry “Allez, les Bleus!” (“Up, you blues!”) is much older.

France confirmed their success two years later at the European Championships in the Netherlands and Belgium, when they defeated Italy 2-1 in the final with a golden goal and became the first reigning world champion to become European champions. At the 2002 World Cup, however, they were eliminated in the preliminary round without their own goal. The 2004 European Championship ended for the Équipe Tricolore in the quarterfinals, where they lost 1-0 to eventual tournament winners Greece . However, she won the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003 . The composition of the Bleus - with a rapidly increasing proportion of second and third generation immigrants and players born outside mainland France - prompted the political “far right” Jean-Marie Le Pen to rant in 2006 that the French people could not join this team recognize more.

The overall balance for the years from 1988 to summer 2004 (when national coach Raymond Domenech took office) was unreservedly positive: 113 wins were compared to only 22 lost games and 40 draws. In May 2004 there was a friendly match against Brazil - that is, the two teams that were first and second in the world rankings at the time - which ended 0-0 at the Stade de France . The reason for this was the 100th birthday of the world football association FIFA; at the same time it took place almost exactly to the day on the 100th anniversary of the Bleus' first official international match. During this period, the Bleus were also successful three times in smaller cup competitions: in 1994 they won the Kirin Cup , in 1998 and 2000 the Moroccan King's Cup.

For the 2006 World Cup, France's team could only qualify on the last day of the match. There she reached the final again, where she met Italy, as in the EM 2000, which this time prevailed on penalties. With the runner-up title and the dissonance at the end of the national team career Zinédine Zidane - dismissal after a headbutt against Marco Materazzi  - was the most successful section of the national team history, in which the Équipe Tricolore even topped the international rankings from May 2001 to May 2002 and again in September 2006 was in second place, reached its end.

Sinking into mediocrity and winning the second star (2006-2018)

year competition Participation
2008 European Championship in Austria / Switzerland ( squad ) Preliminary round
2009 Confed Cup in South Africa not agonizing
2010 World Cup in South Africa ( squad ) Preliminary round
2012 European Championship in Poland / Ukraine ( squad ) Quarter finals
2013 Confederation Cup in Brazil not agonizing
2014 World Cup in Brazil ( squad ) Quarter finals
2016 European Championship in France ( squad ) Second
2017 Confederation Cup in Russia not agonizing
2018 World Cup in Russia ( squad ) First

The sporting development of the national team, for example, has been rated by France Football as a phase of "chronic instability" since 2004 at the latest, in which the vice world championship title from 2006 is only a positive exception. The French were able to qualify for the final round of the European Championship 2008, but they were eliminated in the preliminary round. Participation in the 2010 World Cup was also ensured, but first they had to play the qualifying games of the European group runners-up, in which a late, irregular goal against Ireland opened the way to South Africa - France's equalizer in the second leg was a clear, from Thierry Henry after the game also admitted and even heavily criticized in the French press handball. At the 2010 finals, France were knocked out again in the group stage against Uruguay, Mexico and hosts South Africa, bottom of the table, and fell from ninth to 21st place in the FIFA world rankings in mid-July.

In view of the results and in particular the achievements shown during the past two years, the experts in France were not too optimistic about the outcome of this tournament even before the World Cup; The blame was largely assigned to coach Domenech , whose early replacement was repeatedly considered in the twelve months before the World Cup finals. His coaching record reads not badly: up to the World Cup finals, the Bleus had won 41 games, had 23 draws and lost only twelve games. For parts of the media and several well-known coaching colleagues in France, the main problem was that he was unable to create a homogeneous team from good individual players in which they could optimally bring out their respective individual strengths, as well as in too frequent detailed changes to the French game concept . In July 2010, after the fiasco in Knysna , Domenech, who was permanently employed by the FFF, gave up responsibility for the A-Elf. His successor Laurent Blanc received a fixed salary of € 100,000 per month from the FFF.

Blanc's first season started out positively with eight wins, two draws and - in the two opening games - two defeats, because France recorded victories against Brazil and England and subsequently qualified directly for the European Championship finals . In mid-June 2012, the Bleus increased the uninterrupted number of games without a loss to 23 (between September 7, 2010 and June 15, 2012); the French managed an even longer series only under Aimé Jacquet (30 international matches without defeat, February 16, 1994 to October 9, 1996). Nevertheless, Blanc did not extend his contract afterwards. At the beginning of July 2012, the FFF appointed Didier Deschamps , who wanted to build a new team, as his successor . In addition, he had used a total of 39 players in his first season, which ended with a negative balance (four wins, two draws and five defeats). For the editors of France Football, his first year was not yet suitable to give a position assessment ("These eleven games do not yet show any progress on the current construction sites of the Bleus") . With five defeats in eleven games - including the first defeat against Germany since 1987 - Deschamps had the worst record of a French national coach in his debut season in more than half a century.

In November 2013, the French qualified for the World Cup in Brazil in the play-offs , but the central problem facing the national team since 2006 seemed to persist. Potential “leaders” such as Ribéry, Evra, Abidal or Lloris, from whom one would most likely expect that they “convey their experiences to the younger ones, actively guide them to develop themselves further in the game and to reach a higher level, ... which is a problem of the collective into their own hands or ask the coach of their own accord about tactical questions ”, they are“ more interested in their own statistics than in the performance of the team ”(Laurent Blanc). A Ligue 1 coach puts it more sharply: "The intellectual abilities of the team do not keep pace with its technical level." In 2014, however, the successes of Deschamps' work became visible; the eleven presented themselves with a respectable game, had reached the World Cup quarter-finals and were consequently ranked among the eight best teams in the world by FIFA. In February 2015, the FFF extended Deschamps' contract prematurely for a further two years until 2018; This was followed, however, by a short-term low (in July 2015 another fall to 22nd place in the world rankings), because in the summer of 2016 the French became vice European champions. On the way there, the Stade de France, where the Bleus were playing a friendly against Germany, was hit by the violent attacks that rocked Paris on November 13, 2015 almost simultaneously in several places. In the stadium itself, however, there were no victims to complain about.

The qualifying groups for the 2018 World Cup had already been drawn in the summer of 2015 , and France did not have an easy draw. It had to be from September 2016 in the Europe Group A first with the Netherlands , Sweden , Bulgaria , Belarus and Luxembourg deal. In September 2016 France won a preparation game in Italy 3-1. The success in Bari extends the series that the French have not lost to the hosts in Italy since 1962 (three wins and two draws).

The 2017/18 season began with the last four World Cup qualifiers , of which France had home rights three times - including against the Dutch - but was also in a "long-distance duel" for group victory with Sweden , in which every goal could count. in order to avoid having to qualify through the playoffs, as last year in 2010 with his close result against Ireland. In the end, despite a very weak performance against Luxembourg, France won the group with four points ahead of Sweden and the Netherlands and was confirmed as a World Cup participant in Russia. With friendly games against Wales and in Germany in mid-November 2017, Coach Deschamps' team entered the preparatory phase for this tournament.
In the first five games of the season, Deschamps again proved to be very "willing to experiment"; 27 players were used in it. On the other hand, during the preliminary round of the 2018 World Cup, Hugo Lloris, who was only the seventh Frenchman, was accepted into the so-called " Hundreds Club ".

The world championship finals were successful, but tough and lackluster. The coach had already called up the starting eleven in the second group game, which enabled the march through to the title win in the knockout round; In the third round game against the Danes, however, Deschamps helped several other players to play because the Bleus only needed a draw to win the group. The decisive factor for the success of the tournament was an extremely strong, central defensive axis made up of goalkeeper Lloris, the central defenders Umtiti and Varane as well as the "clearer" Kanté in front, which ensured that the opposing teams could only fire 13 shots up to and including the quarter-finals the gate of the French went. But also the performance improvement of Griezmann and Pogba as well as the self-sacrificing work of striker Giroud, who did not avoid a duel in his own half of the field, the two 22-year-old full-backs Hernández and Pavard, the speed and wit of Mbappé and the flexibility of the experienced Matuidi were Plus points that the last two French opponents in the semifinals and the final had too little to oppose. The coach had by no means set the core formation identically to each opponent, but rather reacted very individually to the expected tasks both in terms of the depth positioning of the Varane-Umtiti-Kanté trio and in terms of the different positions that the offensive forces took. Ultimately, there were four systems in which the French played in these seven World Cup games: 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1.

After winning a second “FIFA star”, France moved up to the top position in the world rankings again after a decade and a half.

From 2018: The title - pleasure or burden?

year competition Participation
2018/19 Nations League League A, 6th place
2021 European Championship qualified
2020/21 Nations League League A

On the one hand, the low average age of the French world champions offered good prerequisites to be among the top performers in the concert of the greats in the coming years. On the other hand, not only the examples of the three predecessors Italy (title holder 2006), Spain (2010) and Germany (2014) show that the role of the “hunted” is a difficult one. The increasing density of the international calendar for club and national teams - for example, UEFA introduced another compulsory competition with the Nations League directly after the summer break in 2018 - could further increase the pressure of expectations and the stress on the French.

Qualification for the European Championship , which was actually planned for 2020, began in spring 2019, which UEFA then postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic . As the head of Group H, the world champion had to deal with Iceland , Turkey , Albania , Moldova - which France has never played against - and neighboring Andorra .

The 2018/19 season

date place opponent Result
September 6, 2018 Munich Germany 0-0 NL
September 9, 2018 Saint-Denis Netherlands 2: 1 NL
October 11, 2018 Guingamp Iceland 2: 2 F
October 16, 2018 Saint-Denis Germany 2: 1 NL
16th November 2018 Rotterdam Netherlands 0: 2 NL
20th November 2018 Saint-Denis Uruguay 1-0 F.
March 22, 2019 Chișinău Moldova 4: 1 EMQ
March 25, 2019 Saint-Denis Iceland 4-0 EMQ
2nd June 2019 Nantes Bolivia 2-0 F
June 8, 2019 Konya Turkey 0-2 EMQ
June 11, 2019 Andorra la Vella Andorra 4-0 EMQ
F = friendly match; NL = UEFA Nations League; EMQ = EM
qualification; Results always from a French point of view

In autumn 2018, the French met the Netherlands and Germany twice each for the first edition of the UEFA Nations League. These three formed one of four groups of the highest European league (Division A), from which only the group winners qualify for the final tournament ("Final Four") in June 2019. For the first two games, coach Deschamps had called up exactly the players who were also in Russia - with the exception of the injured goalkeeper Mandanda, who was replaced by Benoît Costil , but including the already resigned Adil Rami . The Bleus finished tied with the Dutch in their group , but had the worse goal difference and thus did not qualify for the round of the last four teams.

Used players

e = substituted on; Players with an (N) made their national team debuts this season.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham, 8), Alphonse Aréola (N) (Paris, 3)

Defenders: Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart, 10), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid, 9), Samuel Umtiti (FC Barcelona, ​​6), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris, 3 + 2e), Lucas Digne (Everton, 4), Lucas Hernández (Atlético Madrid, 3), Layvin Kurzawa (Paris, 2), Léo Dubois (N) (Lyon, 1 + 1e), Adil Rami (Marseille, 1), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace, 1), Kurt Zouma (Everton, 1) , Clément Lenglet (N) (FC Barcelona, ​​1), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City, 1e)

Midfielders: Blaise Matuidi (Juventus Turin, 8 + 1e), Paul Pogba (Manchester United, 9), N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea, 7), Tanguy Ndombele (N) (Lyon, 3 + 3e), Steven Nzonzi (AS Roma , 2 + 3e), Thomas Lemar (Atlético Madrid, 1 + 4e), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham, 1 + 4e), Ferland Mendy (N) (Lyon, 2 + 2e), Corentin Tolisso (Munich, 1e), Dimitri Payet (Marseille, 1st)

Attacking players: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid, 11), Kylian Mbappé (Paris, 10 + 1e), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea, 9 + 1e), Florian Thauvin (Marseille, 3 + 2e), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona, ​​1 + 4e ), Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla FC, 1 + 2e), Nabil Fekir (Lyon, 3e), Kingsley Coman (Munich, 2e), Alassane Pléa (N) (Mönchengladbach, 1e)

The 21 French goals were scored by Griezmann, Mbappé (5 each), Giroud (4), Varane, Umtiti, Zouma, Lemar, Thauvin and Ben Yedder (1 each). There was also an own goal by Icelandic Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson .

The 2019/20 season

date place opponent Result
7th September 2019 Saint-Denis Albania 4: 1 EMQ
September 10, 2019 Saint-Denis Andorra 3-0 EMQ
October 11, 2019 Reykjavík Iceland 1-0 EMQ
October 14, 2019 Saint-Denis Turkey 1: 1 EMQ
November 14, 2019 Saint-Denis Moldova 2: 1 EMQ
17th November 2019 Tirana Albania 2-0 EMQ
March 27, 2020 Saint-Denis Ukraine F (canceled)
March 31, 2020 Saint-Denis Finland F (canceled)
F = friendly match; EMQ = EM qualification;
Results always from a French point of view

The French had four home advantages in their remaining six qualifying games , even against two of the three supposedly strongest rivals, Turkey and Albania. Paul Pogba , N'Golo Kanté and Kylian Mbappé were missing three regular players in the first three of these games ; the coach considered three newcomers, including a goalkeeper Mike Maignan . This position is currently - at least behind the "undisputed Lloris" - as a relative weak point in French football.

In the EM preliminary round, which has been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic , the French expect a very demanding task in Group F with defending champions Portugal, Germany and an opponent to be determined in the play-offs.

Used players

e = substituted on; Players with an (N) have not yet played an A international match.

Goalkeepers: Steve Mandanda (Marseille, 4), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham, 2)

Defenders: Clément Lenglet (FC Barcelona, ​​6), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid, 6), Benjamin Pavard (Munich, 4 + 1e), Lucas Digne (Everton, 3 + 2e), Lucas Hernández (Munich, 2), Léo Dubois (Lyon, 2), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris, 1)

Midfilders: Corentin Tolisso (Munich, 6), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham, 4), Thomas Lemar (Atlético Madrid, 1 + 3e), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus Turin, 3), N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea, 1), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City, 1)

Attacking players: Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona, ​​6), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea, 5 + 1e), Kingsley Coman (Munich, 5), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco, 2 + 2e), Jonathan Ikoné (N) (Lille, 1+ 3e), Nabil Fekir (Betis Sevilla, 3e), Kylian Mbappé (Paris, 1)

France's 13 goals were scored by Giroud (4), Coman (3), Ikoné, Lenglet, Ben Yedder, Varane, Tolisso and Griezmann (1 each). In the first two games, Griezmann missed one penalty each; therefore Giroud took on two more penalties against Iceland and Moldova and converted each.

National coach

From 1904 (1st official international match) to 1919 (founding of the FFF football association), the national team was set up by the Comité Français Interfédéral umbrella organization . Joint training for national players and thus the position of full-time national coach were not only unknown in France in the early days of football. From 1919 there was temporarily a coach - for a single game or a tournament (Olympic Games, World Cup finals), and from 1950/51 there was also a permanent coach, who - like Albert Batteux  - was still mainly employed by a club. The team squad for each international match was determined by a selection committee of the FFF, which consisted of one or more "technical directors" until 1964. That is why the national trainer is still often referred to as the Sélectionneur there .

Selection committee of the FFF

In particular, three Sélectionneurs have significantly influenced the fortunes of the national team, even if the selection committee consisted of up to eight members in sections. That was Gaston Barreau from November 1919 until his death in the summer of 1958 , who even held this position from May 1936 to April 1945. Barreau was "disempowered" in the fall of 1956, without losing his seat on the committee, and replaced by Paul Nicolas , who had been a member from August 1949 to December 1953 and again since September 1954. After Nicolas' untimely death, Georges Verriest joined the committee in June 1959 and from October 1960 to July 1964 also took over its position as sole responsible.

In addition to these three, there were also a few other well-known ex-national players on the selection committee, namely Gabriel Hanot (March to December 1920, April 1945 to August 1949), Jean Rigal (July 1922 to May 1936, August 1949 to October 1956), Lucien Gamblin (October 1923 only), Henri Bard (November 1924 to February 1930) and Alex Thépot (December 1953 to October 1960).


Albert Batteux (1949)
Aimé Jacquet (2005), Bleus' first world champion coach

The longest as national coach was Michel Hidalgo, who was responsible for 76 games during his eight and a half years. He is followed by Albert Batteux (a good seven years, 56 games), Didier Deschamps (a good seven years, 100 games) and Raymond Domenech (six years, 79 games).

In 2018, Deschamps was only third after Mário Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to become world champions both as a player and as a coach. At the end of 2019, the association extended Deschamps' contract ahead of time until mid-2022; accordingly, he should also look after the Bleus at the World Cup in Qatar .

From To Surname Games Years
1950/51 September 1954 Pierre Pibarot (a) about 30 3
October 16, 1954 November 11, 1954 Jules Bigot (a) 2 <1
March 17, 1955 May 5th 1962 Albert Batteux (a) 56 7th
October 20, 1962 2nd September 1966 Henri Guérin 28 4th
3rd September 1966 20th January 1967 Jean Snella and
José Arribas
4th <1
March 22, 1967 3rd June 1967 Just Fontaine 2 <1
17th September 1967 November 6, 1968 Louis Dugauguez 9 1
March 2nd 1969 May 26, 1973 Georges Boulogne 31 4th
September 8, 1973 15th November 1975 Ștefan Kovács 15th 2
January 1, 1976 June 27, 1984 Michel Hidalgo 76 8th
June 30, 1984 October 22, 1988 Henri Michel 36 4th
3rd November 1988 2nd July 1992 Michel Platini 29 3
July 9, 1992 November 25, 1993 Gerard Houllier 12 1
17th December 1993 July 27, 1998 Aimé Jacquet 53 4th
July 28, 1998 July 5, 2002 Roger Lemerre 53 4th
July 17, 2002 June 30, 2004 Jacques Santini 28 2
July 12, 2004 June 22, 2010 Raymond Domenech 79 6th
July 1, 2010 June 30, 2012 Laurent Blanc 27 2
July 9, 2012 Didier Deschamps 100 7th
(a)Pibarot and Bigot are not included in most of the other coaching statistics, Batteux only occasionally because these three were not yet solely responsible. Delahais / Colombari / Dautel dedicate an extensive laudatory speech to Batteux under the heading “Sélectionneurs” on pp. 331–334, however, as one of only four national coaches - the others are Hidalgo, Jacquet and Deschamps. Information on Pibarot and Bigot from Chaumier (in the respective personal articles) and Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 311-324, otherwise, for example, from Guillet / Laforge, p. 419, and France Football of October 4, 2016, p. 12 .

It should be mentioned that several French coaches were or still are responsible for the national teams of other countries - particularly from French-speaking Africa, but also from Arabia and Asia. Six of them even had a three-digit number of internationals , namely Claude Le Roy , Hervé Renard , Bruno Metsu and Philippe Troussier , who, unlike Henri Michel and Roger Lemerre, have never been entrusted with France's A-Team. (As of November 17, 2019)


See also the list of all players who were featured in official A internationals for France.

Up to and including June 2017, almost 900 footballers had worn the national dress. The youngest national player of all time is not Maryan Wisnieski, as is often quoted, but René Gérard , who made his debut in May 1932 a month before his 18th birthday. Larbi Ben Barek can look back on the longest career with the Bleus: 15 years and ten months passed between his first (1938) and his last assignment. In his last game (1954 against Germany) Ben Barek, for whom different dates of birth exist, was 37 or 40 years old; in any case, he is still the oldest player to ever wear the blue dress.

Fabien Barthez (17 games from 1998 to 2006) made the most appearances in World Cup finals, followed by Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry (16 each, 1998 to 2006 and 2010) and Maxime Bossis (15, 1978 to 1986). Franck Jurietti made the shortest appearance in the blue jersey : in October 2005 against Cyprus he was substituted on five seconds before the final whistle.

Chronology of the record international players

Roger Marche (1949)
Lilian Thuram (2008)

As the first French player, Jean Rigal achieved a double-digit number of so-called caps in April 1911 . H. Operations for the national team; Didier Deschamps was the first Frenchman to be accepted into the so-called "Hundreds Club" in the summer of 2000 .

Name and period

his internationals

Number of games Record holder

from ... to

Record holder

for ... years

Jean Rigal (1909-1912) 11 1911-1913 2
Jean Ducret (1910-1914) 20th 1913-1923 10
Raymond Dubly (1913-1925) 31 1923-1928 5
Jules Dewaquez (1920-1929) 41 1928-1938 10
Étienne Mattler (1930–1940) 46 1938-1955 17th
Roger Marche (1947-1959) 63 1955-1983 28
Marius Trésor (1971–1983) 65 1983-1985 2
Maxime Bossis (1976-1986) 76 1985-1992 7th
Manuel Amoros (1982-1992) 82 1992-1999 7th
Didier Deschamps (1989-2000) 103 1999-2003 4th
Marcel Desailly (1993-2004) 116 2003-2006 3
Lilian Thuram (1994-2008) 142 since 2006

Thuram is followed by Henry (123), Desailly (116) in the list of the most frequent appearances in the national team, while Lloris (114), Zidane (108), Vieira (107), Deschamps (103), Blanc , Lizarazu and Giroud ( 97 each), Wiltord (92) and Barthez (87).
Thierry Henry is also the only French player to appear in four World Cup finals (six in 1998, two in 2002, seven in 2006, two in 2010). At the European Championship finals, Lilian Thuram is the French record holder; he took part in four tournaments and was used in 16 matches (five in 1996 and 2000, four in 2004, two in 2008).

Of the current national players, behind Lloris and Giroud Blaise Matuidi (84), Antoine Griezmann (78) and Paul Pogba (69) have made the most appearances. (As of November 17, 2019)

Most successful goal scorers

The first ever French goalscorer was Louis Mesnier in 1904 , who scored six times in 14 international matches. In March 1929, Paul Nicolas became the first Frenchman to hit the 20 mark; in June 1938, he was surpassed by his namesake Jean, who in 1930 had also been the first ever goal scorer at a World Cup finals. A good two decades later, in November 1959, Just Fontaine topped this list when he scored goals 22 to 24 against Portugal, followed by six more. Michel Platini replaced him as the national team's most successful goalscorer during the European Championship in 1984 and increased his number of goals to 41 by the end of his international career. In October 2007, Thierry Henry surpassed this record.

Most goals in a single game were scored by Eugène Maës in 1913; his five goals against Luxembourg are unsurpassed to this day. Only Thadée Cisowski managed such a number again (1956, against Belgium). In a continental tournament, Just Fontaine is the most successful with four goals - scored in the game for third place against Germany at the 1958 World Cup. The most dangerous defender of the Bleus is with his 16 goals Laurent Blanc, who was set up more offensively in the first years of his career.

Thierry Henry (2008)
rank Surname Period of his
international matches
Number of
Number of
Odds of
goals / game
1 Thierry Henry 1997-2010 51 123 0.41
2 Michel Platini 1976-1987 41 72 0.57
3 Olivier Giroud 2011-2019 39 97 0.40
4th David Trezeguet 1998-2008 34 71 0.48
5 Zinedine Zidane 1994-2006 31 108 0.29
6th Just Fontaine 1953-1960 30th 21st 1.43
Jean-Pierre Papin 1986-1995 30th 54 0.56
Antoine Griezmann 2014-2019 30th 78 0.38
9 Youri Djorkaeff 1993-2002 28 82 0.34
10 Karim Benzema 2007-2015 27 81 0.33
11 Sylvain Wiltord 1999-2006 26th 92 0.28
12 Jean Vincent 1953-1961 22nd 46 0.48
13 Jean Nicolas 1933-1938 21st 25th 0.84
14th Paul Nicolas 1920-1931 20th 35 0.57
Eric Cantona 1987-1995 20th 45 0.44
16 Jean Baratte 1944-1952 19th 32 0.59
17th Roger Piantoni 1952-1961 18th 37 0.49
Raymond Kopa 1952-1962 18th 45 0.40
19th Franck Ribery 2006-2014 16 81 0.20
Laurent Blanc 1989-2000 16 97 0.16
21st Eugène Maës 1911-1913 15th 11 1.36
Hervé Revelli 1973-1977 15th 30th 0.50
Dominique Rocheteau 1975-1986 15th 49 0.31

In terms of efficiency, i.e. the number of hits per use, Henry is not even among the top 15 national players with 0.41 (only those with at least 10 goals). Fontaine (1.43) and Maës (1.36) are clearly ahead of Thadée Cisowski (0.85), Jean Nicolas (0.84), Ernest Vaast (0.73), Baratte (0.59), Émile Veinante (0.58), Paul Nicolas and Platini (0.57), Papin (0.56) and Hervé Revelli (0.50). Of the current attackers, Olivier Giroud is the most successful with 39 goals ahead of Antoine Griezmann (30), Kylian Mbappé (13), Paul Pogba (10) and Blaise Matuidi (9). (As of November 17, 2019)


In total, over one hundred team captains have led the French team onto the field so far . Five of them stand out when it comes to the number of matches as captain: The current Bleus captain, Hugo Lloris, has wore the armband in 90 international matches since 2010, followed by Didier Deschamps (54, 1994-2000), Michel Platini (50, 1979 –1987), Marcel Desailly (49, 1995–2004) and Roger Marche (42, 1950–1959). Between the world wars, the captain's role was played by Paul Nicolas (18, 1925–1931), before the First World War Jean Ducret (12, 1910–1914) was the most common. The FFF has not yet given an award comparable to the German honorary captain . (As of November 17, 2019)

Venues and international opponents

Home stadiums

The Stade de France, dressed in blue

The French usually play their home games in one of the large stadiums in the Paris metropolitan area; This was often the Stade Pershing immediately after the First World War , then the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes or the Parc des Princes . The first French international match under floodlights took place in the Prinzenpark (on March 26, 1952, 0-1 against Sweden). The Stade de France in Saint-Denis has been the “national stadium” since 1998 , where the Bleus competed against Andorra for the hundredth time in September 2019 . However, the French federation occasionally deviates from this and awards international matches in a stadium in the other metropolitan areas in order to make it clear that the Équipe Tricolore is the team for the whole country; the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille has received the Bleus 16 times, and they have also hosted more frequently in Nantes (ten games), Lens , Lyon (nine each), Saint-Étienne , Toulouse (seven each), Montpellier and Bordeaux (five each) . Encounters with less attractive teams are even occasionally held in smaller “provincial stadiums”; an international match in Monaco (1988) is also included. In June 2019 the 106th home game took place in a stadium outside the Paris area. In France's overseas possessions - which is also one of the home games in the FFF statistics - the Equipe Tricolore has only played twice, namely in 2005 against Costa Rica in Fort-de-France on Martinique and in early June 2010 on the occasion of a test match in the immediate run-up the World Cup in Saint-Pierre on Réunion against China .

By far the most frequent venue outside of their own country is Brussels with 34 games, followed by London (16), Luxembourg (11), Genève (10), Vienna , Stockholm / Solna and Sofia (9 each), Budapest , Dublin , Moscow and Rotterdam (8 each).

The largest number of spectators who attended a game of the Bleus was also at an away game: in April 1949 125,631 visitors saw a 2-0 victory for Scotland in the stands at Glasgow's Hampden Park . Two other games also drew over 100,000 spectators: in Madrid's Nuevo Estadio de Chamartín (125,000, March 1955) and in Moscow's VI Lenin Central Stadium (102,000, June 1966). For a game on French soil, the record was 80,051 spectators (June 2007 at the Stade de France, 2-0 against Ukraine ). In contrast, only about 300 people witnessed a French 7-0 defeat against Belgium (May 1905 at the Vivier d'Oie stadium in Brussels ). (As of November 17, 2019)

Most common opponents

The national team has so far faced 88 opponents from all FIFA continental associations (see the chronological list of all international matches with additional statistics on all opponents and the venues).

The French most often met Belgium (74 matches), which was also their first international partner; England (41), (c) Italy (39), Switzerland (38), Spain (35), Germany (d) (31), the Netherlands (27), Yugoslavia (d) (26), Portugal ( 25), Austria (23), Hungary, Bulgaria (22 each), Sweden (21), Czechoslovakia (d) (20), USSR / Russia (19), Luxembourg (18), Romania, Ireland (17 each), Poland, Norway, Scotland and Denmark (16 each) and Iceland (15). Among the non-European opponents Brazil (15, according to another counting 16) is ahead of Argentina (12), Uruguay (10), Israel (9), Mexico (7), Japan (6), Morocco, Chile and Australia (5 each). The total number of games also includes three games against national teams from the African and North and Central American continental federations - these two games took place in 1972 on the occasion of the Brazilian Independence Cup ( Taça Independência , also known as "Mini-Copa") - and the World Federation ( the “FIFA World Stars” in August 2000).

The French international match record with these most common opponents is compared with Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Ireland, Norway, Romania, Luxembourg, Denmark and Iceland - as well as with Israel, Mexico, Japan and Morocco - positive and balanced compared to Scotland, USSR / Russia, Chile and Uruguay. A statistical peculiarity can be found with regard to Belgium, against which the French have not been able to win at least in friendly meetings in front of their own audience since June 1947 - i.e. for more than seven decades (seven draws and five defeats). (As of November 17, 2019)

On the other hand, there have been surprisingly seldom official international matches against the national teams from the former French North Africa : apart from five games against Morocco (independence in 1956, first encounter in 1988), four against Tunisia (independence in 1956, first encounter in 1978) and even first one against Algeria (independence in 1962, first encounter in 2001), with spectator riots against Algeria leading to the only game being abandoned in French international history. The clashes with France's former West African colonies are similarly sparse: three games against Cameroon , two against Ivory Coast and one each against Senegal and Togo . One of the Cameroon games and the encounters against Togo and Senegal were not based on a voluntary agreement, but rather as competitive games at intercontinental tournaments.

(c) including eight games before 1923, which the English Association only counts in the statistics of its amateur selection
(d) In the case of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, the census does not take into account any successor states, and in Germany it does not take the GDR into account.

Equipment suppliers, television broadcast rights and sponsors

Since 1972, Adidas has been the main supplier to the French national teams, paying 10.5 million euros (plus bonuses) annually for this right until the end of 2010. In 2011, Nike took its place and transferred - initially until 2018 - 42.66 million euros per annum to the FFF, plus equipment worth 2.5 million euros in each case. This payment will increase to 50 million euros annually for the period 2018 to 2026.

The first TV broadcast of a French international match was the 1954 match in Hanover against Germany on ORTF . The TV broadcaster TF1 has owned the broadcasting rights since 1987, and now pays 45.35 million euros annually to the FFF.

In addition to Nike and TF1, other companies support the national team financially. So-called main sponsors with annual payments of four million euros each p. a. are Crédit Agricole , GDF Suez and PMU , as secondary sponsors Carrefour , Citroën , SFR and Sport 2000 for 1.4 million euros each. There is also a pool of four other companies with 500,000 euros each. After the fiasco of the Bleus at the World Cup in South Africa, the contracts were supplemented under pressure from the sponsors and since then contain an additional penalty regulation , according to which the association has to reimburse up to 10% of the sponsorship money if the team loses reputation. An opinion research institute was commissioned to regularly determine the image .

France at the Olympics

As early as 1900 at the Olympic Games taking place as part of the World Exhibition , a French team took part in the football competition, as well as in other team competitions represented by a club team. This was the French runner-up in 1900, the Club Français Paris , because there were several British in the ranks of the master Le Havre AC . In the first Olympic football match on September 20 at the Vélodrome de Vincennes , the British Upton Park FC team lost 4-0 in front of 500 spectators, and in the second on September 23, the Belgian students were defeated 6-2 in front of 1,500 spectators. Originally scheduled as separate games, the French team was subsequently placed in 2nd place by the IOC . With Fernand Canelle also one of the players it used in the first official international match in France on May 1, 1904 played with.

At the interludes in Athens in 1906 there were some French players in the team from Smyrna , but French teams did not officially participate again until 1908 . Since the Bohemian team was not allowed to participate under pressure from the Austrian government, the French A-team reached the semi-finals without a fight, while the B-team Denmark lost 9-0 in the quarter-finals. The A-team fared even worse in the semi-finals against Denmark: The 1:17 is still the biggest defeat of a European team in an international match.

After France canceled at short notice in 1912 , it took part again in 1920 . In the quarterfinals Italy were defeated 3-1, in the semifinals France were defeated by Czechoslovakia . Since they left the game shortly before half-time in the final and were thus disqualified, the French team was also eliminated because of the tournament, which was played in a modification of the Bergvall system .

At the 1924 games , France started in the round of 16 at the Stade de Paris in front of 15,000 spectators with a 7-0 win against Latvia , but then had to acknowledge the superiority of the Uruguayans in the quarter-finals in front of 45,000 spectators (the highest number of spectators at this football tournament) in the first international match against a non-European team who won 5-1 and later became Olympic champions. In 1928 France ended up in the round of 16 when they lost to Italy 3-4.

In the following games, the A team no longer took part, but the amateur team. This reached the quarterfinals three times (1948, 1968 and 1976); In 1984 France was the first nation to win both the European Championship and the Olympic gold medal in one year thanks to the Olympic team.


The Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport voted the French national team " World Team of the Year " in 1998, 2000 and 2018 .

See also


  • Pierre Cazal: France (1900-1920). in: International Federation of Football History and Statistics (Ed.), Fußball-Weltzeitschrift No. 23, 1994
  • Denis Chaumier: Les Bleus. Tous les joueurs de l'équipe de France de 1904 à nos jours. Larousse, o. O. 2004, ISBN 2-03-505420-6
  • Matthieu Delahais / Bruno Colombari / Alain Dautel: Le Dico des Bleus. Marabout, Vanves 2017, ISBN 978-2-501-12142-2
  • Pierre Delaunay / Jacques de Ryswick / Jean Cornu: 100 ans de football en France. Atlas, Paris 1982, 1983², ISBN 2-7312-0108-8
  • Gérard Ejnès / L'Équipe: La belle histoire. L'équipe de France de football. L'Équipe, Issy-les-Moulineaux 2004, ISBN 2-9519605-3-0
  • Fédération Française de Football (Ed.): 100 dates, histoires, objets du football français. Tana, o. O. 2011, ISBN 978-2-84567-701-2
  • France Football: Où va l'Équipe de France? Une histoire en chiffres. Issue 3423 from November 15, 2011
  • Sophie Guillet / François Laforge: Le guide français et international du football éd. 2009. Vecchi, Paris 2008, ISBN 978-2-7328-9295-5 (with Supplément 2010 , Paris 2009)
  • Jean-Philippe Rethacker / Jacques Thibert: La fabuleuse histoire du football. Minerva, Genève 1996, 2003², ISBN 978-2-8307-0661-1

Web links

Commons : France national soccer team  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes and sources

  1. Black stands for those from the francophone parts of Black Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, blanc for light-skinned and beur for players of Arab-Muslim origin who were born in France. The term is now even used to characterize the entire French society, also in contemporary history and sociological publications; see. For example the article L'homme vertical from the Nouvel Observateur of July 16, 1998, which was included in the second edition of the contemporary historical source collection by Olivier Wieviorka / Christophe Prochasson: La France du XX e siècle. Seuil, Paris 2004, ISBN 978-2-02-063236-2 , pp. 733-735. For the function of such terms see, for example, Martin Doering / Dietmar Osthus: Black, Blanc, Beur: Metaphorical identity, identical metaphors? - Forms and functions of metaphors in the French daily press for the 1998 Mondial. In: 3/2002, pp. 17–43, available here as PDF.
  2. a b When the French who failed in the qualification were subsequently offered a place in the field due to the cancellation of three teams ( Scotland , Turkey , India ), the FFF initially accepted despite the short notice of the offer (May 1950). France was then assigned to group 4, which would have resulted in trips within Brazil of around 3,000 km. When the World Cup organizer rejected the request for a different group assignment, the FFF decided not to participate. - Rethacker / Thibert, p. 197; Hardy Greens: Football World Cup Encyclopedia 1930-2006. AGON, Kassel 2004², ISBN 3-89784-261-0 , p. 102; Lorenz Knieriem / Matthias Voigt: Football World Cup 1950 Brazil. AGON, Kassel 2003, ISBN 3-89784-217-3 , pp. 45/46
  3. Excepted from this were and are "special organizations" such as those of the workers', military, student, company and similar sports, which have recently been closely associated with the FFF - see here for more details .
  4. All match reports are available on this FFF page .
  5. Guillet / Laforge, p. 419 and Supplément, p. 75, only made 715 international matches up to and including 2008/09, which, together with the matches that have taken place since then, results in a total of six fewer games (against only 86 opponents). France Football, Heft 3423, p. 7. According to Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 422/423, with 87 opponents, there were four fewer games than Guillet / Laforge.
  6. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 366/367, lists 42 such "forgotten games" (matches oubliés) between 1922 and 1990 alone . In Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 255, even 45 games are given for the same period.
  7. Demonstration competition only; the medals were also distributed by the IOC afterwards. France was represented by a club team ( Club Français Paris ).
  8. Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 48
  9. after this 1911 annual review on the FFF website
  10. Cazal, pp. 4/5
  11. Cazal, pp. 7-11
  12. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 16, 18 and 290–294
  13. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 20
  14. Cazal, p. 5, speaks of a “democratization of football”; more detailed on this Alfred Wahl: Les archives du football. Sport et société en France (1880-1980). Gallimard, op . Cit . 1989, ISBN 2-07-071603-1 , pp. 126-139 and 175ff .; for comparison with similar developments in Germany see Erik Eggers: Fußball in der Weimarer Republik. AGON, Kassel 2001, ISBN 3-89784-174-6 , especially pp. 19-27
  15. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 24-28
  16. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 30f.
  17. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 32f.
  18. René Petit previously played for Real Unión Irún . At that time, however, it was necessary to belong to a club in the country for which one wanted to participate in the Olympic Games; therefore Petit temporarily joined his home club in Bordeaux before returning to Spain and playing for Real Madrid . - Cazal, p. 4; Chaumier, p. 240
  19. Chaumier, p. 102
  20. Chaumier, p. 36
  21. ^ Marc Barreaud: Dictionnaire des footballeurs étrangers du championnat professionnel français (1932–1997). L'Harmattan, Paris 1998, ISBN 2-7384-6608-7 , pp. 19f.
  22. Didier Braun: L'équipe de France de football, c'est l'histoire en raccourci d'un siècle d'immigration. in Hommes & Migrations, No. 1226 (July / August 2000), here ( memento of the original from January 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. available as PDF; similar to Claude Boli / Yvan Gastaut / Fabrice Grognet: Allez la France! Football et immigration. Gallimard / Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration / Musée national du Sport, Paris 2010, ISBN 978-2-07-012963-8 . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 294-297
  24. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 38–43 and 302
  25. ^ According to Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling (ed.): The history of the national soccer team. Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89533-443-X , p. 67f., This “extremely prestigious encounter” was marked by mutual taunts and nicknames, not only on the field.
  26. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 44; also the game dates on the FFF website; on the other hand even 55,000 viewers according to the DFB (publisher): passion on the ball. 100 years of German international games 1908 to 2008. Medienfabrik, Gütersloh 2007, ISBN 978-3-577-14701-9 , p. 330
  27. Two of these games are not simply numbered by the FFF, but rather, as "second games" with the indication 50 to (1922 in Norway) or 99 to (the game against Brazil in 1930), lead to a certain confusion when counting - Ejnès / L 'Équipe, pp. 366f.
  28. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 294-308
  29. Chaumier, p. 9; Delaunay / de Ryswick / Cornu, p. 201; Marc Barreaud: Dictionnaire des footballeurs étrangers du championnat professionnel français (1932–1997). L'Harmattan, Paris 1998, ISBN 2-7384-6608-7 , p. 60
  30. ^ Excerpts from the newspaper articles by Jean Riverain / Claude Quesniaux: Kopa, Coppi… et autres champions. G. P., Paris 1961, pp. 46/47, and Raymond Kopa: Mes matches et ma vie. Ed. Pierre Horay, Paris 1958, pp. 128f.
  31. . Example Friedebert Becker (ed.): Soccer World Cup 1958. Copress, Munich 1958, p 14, 141, 165, 242, 244, 278, 282 and 284; Willy Meisl im Kicker on June 30, 1958, p. 14, facsimile in Frank Steffan (Ed.): So ein Tag. The match reports of all World Cup games of the German national soccer team. Ed. Steffan, Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-923838-04-2
  32. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 309-321
  33. Rethacker / Thibert, p. 275; A photo of the French squad at the 1957 World Cup can be found in Fédération Française de Football (ed.): 100 dates, histoires, objets du football français. Tana, o.O. 2011, ISBN 978-2-84567-701-2 , p. 159. More detailed information on this tournament and France's squad Didier Braun: 14 juillet 1957 - l'armée défile à Buenos Aires. in France Football of July 9, 2013, p. 56.
  34. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 75ff., 81f., 91 and 106f.
  35. see besides Ejnès / L'Équipe e.g. also Delaunay / de Ryswick / Cornu, pp. 203f., 221 and 236f .; Rethacker / Thibert, p. 285f. and 312; Michel Drucker / Jean-Paul Ollivier: Onze hommes en Suède. Kopa, Piantoni, Fontaine et les autres. Édition ° 1, Paris 1988, ISBN 2-86391-293-3 , p. 206
  36. Chaumier, p. 10
  37. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 104
  38. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 106-126; similar to Fédération Française de Football (Ed.): 100 dates, histoires, objets du football français. Tana, o.O. 2011, ISBN 978-2-84567-701-2 , p. 115
  39. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 128
  40. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 160-173 and 341f.
  41. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 342; see also this page of the RSSSF
  42. France Football of December 25, 2001, p. 25
  43. ^ "French society cannot recognize itself in the national team" - see, for example, the article by Soccernet (English); Le Pen took up, presumably unconsciously, the xenophobic accusation that had been expressed in the Irish press half a century earlier (see above ) .
  44. Ejnès / L'Équipe, p. 279
  45. according to
  46. This has been the constant tenor in French specialist press such as France Football and L'Équipe since the EM 2008 at the latest .
  47. so Denis Chaumier, editorial director of France Football, in the print edition of June 27, 2010, pp. 40/41
  48. See this comment ( Memento of the original from November 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. France Football Editor-in-Chief Stéphane Bitton; In the print edition of November 24, 2009, France Football devoted twelve pages to the topic. Shortly before the World Cup finals, Éditions du Rocher even published a biography of Henry under the title Thierry Henry, la main maudite (meaning “the bad hand”). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  49. see also Kicker special edition WM 2010 , p. 150
  50. see for example the article  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. from France Football online from December 18, 2009, the statements of the FFF President  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Jean-Pierre Escalettes on his favorites for the Domenech successor (including the announcement that “the name of the next coach will be announced before the World Cup” ), most recently the editorial of France Football, edition of April 20, 2010, p. 3, and the official announcement by the FFF on May 16, 2010 that the final negotiations with Laurent Blanc, the Domenech successor, and his current employer, will begin on the same day.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  @1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  51. France Football of June 8, 2010, p. 15
  52. France Football devoted several analytical articles to this topic during the 2010 World Cup, for example in the issues of June 8 (pp. 8–15) and June 15 (pp. 12–14).
  53. Article ( Memento of the original from June 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. dated June 24, 2010 from France Football @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  54. France Football, June 5, 2012, p. 40
  55. Article “A leadership crisis that has not yet been overcome” in France Football of November 19, 2013, pp. 42/43
  56. see the message " Didier Deschamps extends " from February 12, 2015 at
  57. France Football of August 30, 2016, p. 10
  58. ^ Analysis of the French lineups and Deschamps' variable tactics from the article "Les Bleus ont trouvé leur ax fort" in France Football of July 10, 2018, pp. 30-33
  59. During the preparation, goalkeeper Lloris was also out, who had to be replaced by Benjamin Lecomte .
  60. Article " Rami despite resigning " from August 30, 2018 at
  61. Article "Bleus: After Hugo Lloris the Flood?" From September 5, 2019 at
  62. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 288-366
  63. Complete list of all selection committees in Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 290–366
  64. Article Didier Deschamps extended until 2022 from December 10, 2019 at
  65. Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 131
  66. Chaumier, p. 137. Whether Julien Verbrugghe was younger than Gérard when he made his debut in November 1906 cannot be clarified beyond any doubt, since for Verbrugghe different dates of birth are given; according to Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 386, he would have been a year younger than Gérard.
  67. However, his assignments concentrate on a “net” three years, namely the periods December 1938 to May 1939, December 1945 to June 1948 and his last appointment in October 1954.
  68. after this page of the FFF
  69. a b after Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 378-383; Guillet / Laforge, p. 420, and Supplément, p. 72–75, updated for the subsequent international matches
  70. Just Fontaine: Reprise de volée. Solar, supra, 1970, p. 250
  71. see also this table
  72. France Football, September 4, 2012, p. 34, and June 7, 2016, p. 46; the French statistics only take into account those players who held the team leadership at the start of the game.
  73. ^ Fédération Française de Football, pp. 82/83
  74. " Lizarazu: A Special Memento " from September 10, 2019 on the FFF website
  75. A list of all home venues outside the Région Parisienne can be found in France Football from August 14, 2012, p. 17; the magazine updated it in its edition of October 7, 2015, p. 14.
  76. according to the listing in France Football of March 22, 2016, p. 12, updated since then
  77. Figures according to this FFF page and from Delahais / Colombari / Dautel, p. 341 f.
  78. The French played three friendly matches against Luxembourg before the First World War, and since then they have only played compulsory matches (qualifying matches for world or European championships).
  79. Guillet / Laforge, Supplément pp. 74f., Updated beyond 2008/09
  80. according to the article “ France – Belgium blow by blow ” from June 7, 2015 at
  81. Ejnès / L'Équipe, pp. 266/267
  82. ^ France Football, February 26, 2008
  83. Article " To keep the blue jersey, Nike pays 400 million euros " from December 9, 2016 at
  84. France Football, September 4, 2009, p. 13
  85. see this article from La Tribune of November 18, 2009
  86. France Football of October 5, 2010, pp. 50/51
  87. cf. Juan Fauria Garcia: The 1920 Football (Soccer) Tournament
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 26, 2010 in this version .