France are one of the power nations of international football, and have won the World Cup as well as the European Championships. Often one of the most exciting teams to watch in world football, they have enjoyed the riches of having such stars as Michel Platini, Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane in their ranks. But for all their natural flair, they were a frustration to their fans until 1998, when they won the World Cup for the first time, doing so in front of their own fans in France.
They followed this up with the only European Championships ever to have been won on a ‘Golden Goal’, and ever since have been one of the teams to watch in every major tournament.
The French, known as Les Bleu, played their first official game in 1904, almost thirty years after the formation of the English club game. It did not take France long to be noticed on a global scale. They appeared in their first World Cup in 1930, but their first quantifiable success is probably their third-place finish in 1958. Just Fontaine was their biggest star, and led by Raymond Kopa, that result would not be bettered until 1998, although a Platini-inspired France won their first trophy in 1984 when they took the European Championships that year.
In 1998, Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane led France to a 3-0 World Cup final win against the mighty Brazil which will go down in French history as one of their best ever days. France followed up that incredible tournament victory with another European Championships title in 2000, courtesy of that famous ‘Golden Goal’ scored by David Trezeguet. They were the first team in football history to win the Euros straight after the World Cup. In winning the Confederations Cup in 2001, France became only the second team to win the three top-ranked titles FIFA could offer after Argentina.
However, a shock Senegalese victory in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup led to an early exit for Les Bleus. Things were to get even worse in the next World Cup, when Zinedine Zidane disgraced himself with the infamous ‘headbutt’ incident that saw Zidane sent off in the final against eventual winners, Italy.
The 2008 Euros went no better when France, drawn against the Netherlands and Italy in what many pundits dubbed the ‘Group of Death’, crashed out at the group stage. World Cup 2010 in South Africa saw France go into complete meltdown after Nicolas Anelka was sent home in disgrace after rowing with manager Raymond Domenech.
The civil war in the French camp saw all 23 remaining players suspended for the first game after the World Cup, which again ended at the group stage. The fallout was severe, and it has taken a long time for France to become a major force again, despite a positive World Cup in Brazil 2014 which ended to eventual winners Germany.
Can France reign supreme on home soil again in 2016? The European Championships favourites are +300 to win a trophy for the first time in 16 years.
Who Does France National Team Play Next
Want to bet on France’s chances in the next game? From friendlies to Euro 2016 and beyond, every match Les Bleus play will be an exciting one. Find the value and look for the latest odds.
France National Team Game Schedule
Check out all of France’s upcoming games as Les Bleus attempt to win their first tournament since Euro 2000 on home soil for Euro 2016.
France National Team Standings Today
Check out where France sit in the Euro 2016 Championships and latest qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup as Les Blues try to ring in a new golden age.
How To Make Money Betting On France
France go into their first host nation tournament since 1998 as red-hot favorites, just +300 to win the entire Euro 2016 tournament. This time around, of course, they have the pre-tournament impetus of trying to prove that they don’t need one of the greatest strikers in world football in Karim Benzema.
The Real Madrid striker was barred from the squad after an alleged blackmail plot involving team-mate Valbuena, and France have sided with the latter. But it is not only Valbuena France have to call on, with some of the most exciting young talent in the game present right through the spine of Les Blues.
In goal, Hugo Lloris, captain since 2012, has starred for Tottenham Hotspur all season and can be relied on, while Raphael Varane at centre-back has exactly the same prowess.
Antoine Griezmann is a brilliant talent on the wings, but Paul Pogba is a central midfielder who is one of the best in the world.
Up front, €50m sensation Anthony Martial was arguably Manchester United’s best player during the 2015-16 season. All this makes France a great prospect for success this summer, but although we like them for the tournament, we’d recommend putting a bet on them later in the tournament when they are better value.
France are almost certain to win Group A (-350) but far more appealing is the prediction of a France/Switzerland (+125) or France/Romania (+350) 1-2 forecast. France & Romania, in any order, is +275.
Paul Pogba will be crucial for France in Euro 2016 and could be player of the tournament.