France National Football Team

The France football team is one of the oldest in Europe, but they didn't manage to exploit this experience in the tournaments they played for quite a long time. The French soccer team's World Cup history isn't all that magnificent, with a single Cup win in 1998 on home ground, a lost final in the last World Cup held in Germany in 2006 and two more bronze medals earned in 1958 and 1986.
It's actually quite surprising that the French national soccer team didn't manage similar performances to those of Brazil, Germany or Italy, seeing how they always had extraordinary players wearing the "bleus" shirts.
The French soccer team's high rise began in the early 80s, as the team was constructed around a "carre magique" or magic square, containing Michel Platini, Luis Fernandez, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana. These four players formed the backbone of the French national soccer team for almost a decade. Until then, despite having a strong team, France was either unlucky or simply caught in a bad form at most of the World Cups it played in.
Their most notable performances before the "Platini" era include a quarter final in the 1938 World Cup and a third place in 1958, but in the rest of the World Cups played in between and until the 80s, the France soccer team never got past round 1 and they also failed to qualify on 4 occasions (1950, 1962, 1970, 1974). But let's fast forward to the interesting part of France's soccer history, shall we?

As I said earlier, France had a magic offensive square on the pitch in the 80s, lead by striker Michel Platini, who is considered the best French soccer player
of all times, although many attribute this title to the recently-retired
Zinedine Zidane.
With a Platini that was gaining more good form with each match he would play, France would get a notable 4th place in the 1986 World Cup, their best performance in 25 years. Although the 4th place in itself isn't much of a deal, that position was a taste of things to come.
The France soccer team went on to participate in the European Championships 2 years later, in 1984. They didn't manage to qualify for this tournament in 20 years and little was expected from them this time around. But Platini and his "gang" had no time for contemplation over the past as they swept through the rounds ad won the final against Spain, 2-0, with Platini scoring one of the most crucial goals of his career (the second goal for France was scored by Bellone in the 90th minute).
Unfortunately for France's soccer team, the 1986 World Cup that followed, which saw them as one of the favorites, failed to bring the cup back to Paris. After going past Italy and Brazil in the round of 16 and quarter finals respectively, France was knocked out by Germany in the semi-finals, but won the third place match against Belgium 4-2. However, that World Cup marked the career end of several of the Platini generation players and it was time for some fresh blood.
After 2 unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaigns in 1990 and 1994, France
seemed destined for another slide on the ramp of success. But FIFA's decision to award France with holding the 1998 World Cup gave French soccer fans hope that their team can finally win the big trophy. And thanks to outstanding performances by players such as Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschampes or Lilliam Thuram, that's exactly what the French national soccer team did.
Winning in the final 3-0 against Brazil finally established France amongst the most powerful teams of the moment and also established Zinedine Zidane as an idol throughout the World.
Given the strength and the form of the now World Champions, their success in the European Championship of 2000 seemed almost natural. Since then, the French soccer team managed to reach another World Cup final in 2006, which they lost after a thrilling match that ended with a penalty shootout and with Zinedine Zidane sent off the pitch for head butting Italy's defender Marco Matterazzi, in the Frenchman's last game on the pitch ever.


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