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France team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to France.


Fixtures (Group C):

France

v Romania - 9 June, 1700 BST, Zurich
Romania team guide

v Netherlands - 13 June, 1945 BST, Berne
Netherlands team guide

v Italy - 17 June, 1945 BST, Berne
Italy team guide


How did they get there: Finished just behind Italy in Group B and only sneaked second place ahead of Scotland by two points. Lost to the Scots both home and away and will need to improve when they get to Austria and Switzerland.

Raymond Domenech

Manager: Raymond Domenech. A surprise choice in 2004, Domenech has come under fierce criticism for sticking with his most experienced players rather than relying on youth. But after a slow start he led them to the World Cup final in 2006 and will be looking for something similar this time.

Captain: Patrick Vieira. The former Arsenal skipper has over 100 caps but is not quite the force he used to be. Sits in front of the back four alongside Claude Makelele, providing a double shield for the defence and letting the other midfielders rove around.

606: DEBATE

Euro highlights: Winners of the tournament twice - in 1984 and again in 2000. The first win came on home soil as a Michel Platini-inspired France beat Spain 2-0 in the final, while 16 years later it was David Trezeguet's golden goal that saw off Italy in Rotterdam.

Euro legend: Easily Michel Platini. He produced some scintillating displays in 1984 and struck an incredible nine goals in France's five games, including the opener in the final, to earn a place in football folklore. Of course, now he's the president of Uefa.

Franck Ribery

Star man: Franck Ribery. There's a few to choose from in a squad of top quality, but the 25-year-old Bayern Munich flier is the heir apparent to the incomparable Zinedine Zidane. With electric pace, the ability to go past defenders and an improving shot, he could really turn it on.

Strengths: Formidable, world-class talents wherever you look in the team - and some remarkably hungry youngsters ready and willing to step in if needed. Would you want to choose up front between Thierry Henry, Karim Benzema, Nicolas Anelka and Hatem Ben Arfa?

Weaknesses: Domenech has a frustrating ability to tinker with line-ups and formations and France did not start the 2006 World Cup quickly - with group games against the Netherlands and Italy, they will have to fire from the off. A lack of pace at the back courtesy of an ageing defence also gives other sides hope.

World ranking: 7th.

Our verdict: On top of their game, they have the players to beat anyone and if Domenech gets it right, France will be very difficult to beat. In the 'Group of Death' anything could happen, but they are possible champions, no question.




see also
Trezeguet overlooked for France
18 May 08 |  France
Pick your France XI
23 May 08 |  France
Country profile: France
05 Mar 08 |  Country profiles


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