The French national football team has earned a special place in world football. The English are rightfully the founders of football. However, it was the French who first came up with the idea of organizing the World Cup and the European Football Championship. Thanks to Henri Delaunay’s ideas, we have the opportunity to watch the strongest teams of the Old World compete against each other. As for the French national football team, it tries not to disappoint its elite compatriots and has been one of the world’s leading teams for decades. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the French National Football Team.
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French Football In A Nutshell
The first goal in the World Cup was scored by the French. Lucien Laurent scored the first goal for the Mexican national team. Also, the French won their first match in their first World Cup. However, subsequent defeats against Argentina and Chile were also recorded at that time. These defeats prevented them from advancing to the second stage of the tournament. The French national football team also experienced a period of stagnation in the World Cups of 1934 and 1938 as they approached the final match.
During the World War
France failed to qualify for the first post-war World Cup. However, it was among the first prize winners in the 1958 tournament. The French national football team at that time is recorded as one of the best teams in football history. In addition, with names such as Raymond Kopa, Just Fontaine, Jean Vincent and Roger Piantoni in the offensive line, they broke through the defenses of the opponents. Also in the World Cup, the French team scored 23 goals in 6 matches. 13 of them were scored by Juste Fontaine. The second result was never thought to be surpassed. However, the French were not lucky at that time either. It was also the beginning of a successful period for the Brazilian national football team. That’s why their semi-final match ended with a 5-2 victory for the South American team. By the way, the same extraordinary Brazilians scored “only” 16 goals in that tournament. That is, they scored 7 goals less than the French.
Of the next five world championships, from 1962 to 1978, France only qualified for two, in 1966 and 1978. However, they failed to qualify from their group twice in these tournaments. They won only one match and lost four. For a generation led by Michel Platini, the long patience of French fans was rewarded in the 1980s, when a generation of outstanding French players came to the fore.
In the 1982 World Cup, the French reached the semi-finals and played a 3-1 match against West Germany in extra time. However, the German national football team managed to equalize the score and win the match on penalties. The match was marked by an infamous attack by German goalkeeper Schumacher on French national team player Battiston. As a result of the attack, both were seriously injured, and the goalkeeper was not even shown a yellow card.
The French national football team lost the third-place match to the Poles, 2-3. That’s right, the reserves took the field. However, coach Michel Hidalgo tried to play all the players who came to Spain. Four years later, in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Mexico, France won the trophy, beating the current world champions, Italy and Brazil, in the quarterfinals. In the following round, the French suffered the same fate as four years earlier. In this tournament again, the semi-final ended with a victory against the German national football team. Also this time, the reserves of the French team won the “small final” against Belgium 4-2.
Towards the end of the 20th century, the French national team had arguably their greatest teams and successes. The birth of a new generation of football player with skill, speed and strength saw the the team littered with stars. The 1998 world cup held in France was a celebration that ended with the national team winning the final 3-0 against a strong Brazilian team. It was a real triumph for the team and the nation.
Following on from this success, the team went onto win the 2000 European championships 2-1 against rivals Italy in the Netherlands. Holding both the World Cup and the European Championship trophy at the same time is a very rare feat and puts this team into legend status.
In the 2006 final, the French national football team lost to the Italian team on penalties. However, the match is remembered not by the game but by the ejection of Zidane, who hit Materazzi with his head after provoking him. Years later in South Africa, the French again failed to get out of the group. This time the team, torn apart by internal contradictions and scandals, drew 0-0 with Uruguay in the opening match. After this result, they lost 0-2 to Mexico and 1-2 to South Africa.
The French team’s performance at the 2014 World Cup had created optimism among the team’s fans. The French national football team confidently took first place in their group. They then defeated not a simple Nigerian team but the future world champions in the quarterfinals with a minimum of points lost. These hopes were fully justified four years later in 2018, when the French team won the world championship for the second time in its history. It was a historic win in a final that France won 4-2 against Croatia in an exciting final that was held in Russia
The latest Qatar World cup that ended in 2022 saw France once again reach the final in consecutive world cups. The team had many injuries before the tournament started but did magnificently well to reach the final and play what many are calling the greatest final of all time. France were unfortunate losers on penalties to Argentina after an enthralling game that will be remembered forever.
The French national team has achieved many successes and has written its name in gold letters in history. It has also been home to many legends and the future looks bright.