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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
France team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about France ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group G):

  • v Switzerland - 13 June, 1700 BST, Stuttgart
  • v South Korea - 18 June, 2000 BST, Leipzig
  • v Togo - 23 June, 2000 BST, Cologne

    How did they get to Germany: A 4-0 win over Cyprus in the final round of matches secured top place for France in Group 4. But it was a far from comprehensive campaign, with the 1998 World Cup winners twice drawing against Israel and Switzerland and once against the Republic of Ireland.

    Qualifying star: Djibril Cisse top scored for France in qualifying with four goals.

    Manager: Raymond Domenech succeeded Jacques Santini after Euro 2004. The former Under-21 coach is yet to properly stamp his authority on the side as he is caught between two generations of French footballers.

    Zinedine Zidane

    Captain: Zinedine Zidane. The midfield maestro came out of retirement in August 2005 and helped them reach Germany after a shaky start. But is he good enough to replicate the feats of 1998?

    World Cup pedigree: Victory in 1998 perhaps gives a false impression for a country who always felt they should have done better. Semi-final defeats in 1958, 1982 and 1986 promised more than they delivered.

    World Cup high: Winning the tournament on home soil in 1998. Scenes of jubilation followed.

    World Cup low: A miserable defence of their crown in 2002. France failed to score a single goal and lost to Senegal and Denmark to finish bottom of their group.

    World Cup legend: Zidane. Michel Platini might be the most famous French player of all time but he did not score two goals in a World Cup final.

    Thierry Henry

    Present star man: With va-va-voom in abundance it is difficult to look beyond Thierry Henry. The Arsenal striker has yet to really shine in a major tournament and Germany could be his stage.

    Strengths: Zidane, Lilian Thuram and Claude Makelele all came out of retirement to ensure France qualified for the tournament and Les Bleus seem stronger for their return.

    Weaknesses: Ageing players from France's golden generation may not be able to turn it on in a testing competition under sunny skies after a long season.

    Did you know? Coach Domenech is an amateur dramatics enthusiast and does not try to hide his passion for astrology.

    World ranking: 8

    Odds: 12/1

    Local view: "They won't do any better than quarter-finals. The team is too old, young players like Franck Ribery cannot break into the squad. Germany will be the twilight for the dinosaurs of the golden generation," Xavier Rivoire, French author.

    Our verdict: Last chance for the old gang to hit the heights, but they will fall short.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your France XI
    16 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: France
    15 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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