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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
France take time to deliver
The World Cup winning team pose for the cameras
The World Cup winning team pose for the cameras
After 10 appearances at the World Cup Finals, France were finally crowned world champions, in 1998.

They made their first foray into the tournament back in 1930 - the inaugural World Cup.

France created history when they played the first ever World Cup game against Mexico in Uruguay.

The Europeans won the match 4-1, but failed to progress past the first round.

After failing in the first phase four years later, France played hosts in the final World Cup before the Second World War and reached the quarter finals only to be beaten 3-1 by Italy.

France history
World Cup history
1930 - first round
1934 - first round
1938 - second round
1954 - second round
1958 - third place
1966 - first round
1978 - first round
1982 - fourth place
1986 - third place
1998 - winners
The war took its toll on French football and in Switzerland 1954, France again said "au revoir" at the first round stage.

Four years later, however, a certain Just Fontaine burst on to the stage in Sweden and re-wrote football history.

His 13 goals for France in the tournament stands to this day as the most goals scored by one player at any one World Cup.

France reached the semi-finals only to be knocked out by eventual winners Brazil, 5-2.

But the French, with the help of four goals from Fontaine, defeated West Germany 6-3 to clinch third.

It was not until 1982, when a new breed of footballers gave the French game a breath of Gallic flair.

With the likes of Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Michel Platini they progressed through the two group stages to face West Germany in the semi finals.

The game was one of the most memorable in World Cup history - for the right and wrong reasons.

The French took a 3-1 lead in extra-time, but the Germans came back to level and then win the tie on penalties.

Alain Giresse was one of the great players for France in the 1980s
Alain Giresse was one of the great players for France in the 1980s

The ugly incident in the match saw German keeper Harald Schumacher's clatter into Patrick Battiston, which left the Frenchman unconscious with his jaw smashed and two teeth broken.

Four years later France, who were European champions, faced West Germany yet again in the last four, but were once again beaten.

France suffered the ignominy of not qualifying for the World Cup until 1998 - where they were the hosts.

The players of the 1980s had now retired, and it was left to a new brigade - including Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Bixente Lizarazu and Emmanuel Petit - to make home advantage count.

After making past the first phase, the French beat Paraguay, Italy and Croatia en route to the final.

They faced Brazil, who were favourites with many to hold on to their title.

But Brazil did not play to their potential - highlighted by Ronaldo's poor performance - and suffered at the hands of a brace from Zidane and a goal from Petit.

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URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1

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