France's Soccer Team 101: Here's What You Should Know
The France soccer team is actually called the France national football team, as soccer is called football in almost every country but the United States of America. France’s men's team is one of the most successful international teams in the world and is currently the world champion of the sport.
While soccer has been around for several centuries, and the first football club was introduced to the country in 1863, it wasn’t until after the first World War that the sport became the nation’s pastime. Soldiers played the game in the trenches during extended periods of downtime and then spread it to the country after returning home from the war. Soccer games occurred primarily in the army and prestigious universities before WWI.
The team has been playing at the Stade de France since 1998. The stadium has a capacity over 80,000 people and is located in Saint-Denis, a Parisian suburb.
The soccer team’s colors are blue, white and red — their nation’s colors. Their symbol is known as the coq gaulois, or Gallic rooster, and the team is commonly referred to as Les Bleus (the Blues).
The French national team played the final round of the World Cup for the first time in 1998 and became the seventh country to win the World Cup. That year, the match took place at the Stade de France in Paris. Brazil experienced its worst world championship defeat yet, with a final score of 3-0. Zinedine Zidane led the team to victory, scoring two goals over Brazil. Zidane also won the FIFA World Player of the Year award that year. It would be another 20 years (exactly!) before the team won another World Cup championship.
In 2018, France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final match of the 2018 World Cup, taking home the trophy for the second time in history. The match took place on July 15, 2018 in Russia. It was the first time Croatia ever made it to the finals. France's scoring goals were kicked by Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. France became the first team to score four goals in a World Cup final since Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in 1970.
Their coach, Didier Deschamps became the third man to win the World Cup both as a player and a coach. Other awards included the Best Young Player award to Kylian Mbappé, the Bronze Ball and the Silver Boot to Antoine Griezmann. Mbappé became only the second teenager to score in a World Cup Final, with his goal in the championship game.
France became the sixth country to win at least two World Cups, a fete celebrated by only Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Uruguay.
Read more: Your Crash Course on Spain's Soccer Team
Soccer is the most popular sport in France. According to a 2017 survey, there are over two million club members in France. Soccer is two times more popular than the second most popular sport, tennis.
Due to their 2018 World Cup win, the France soccer team is the reigning champion of the world. However, they have always been considered one of the top teams and have a slew of major wins underneath the elastic band of their soccer shorts.
France won two FIFA World Cups, in 1998 and 2018. The team won two UEFA European Championships in 1984 and 2000. The UEFA European Championship showcases the most talented teams in Europe and includes a qualifying competition, playoffs and a final tournament.
They have also won the FIFA Confederations Cup twice, in 2001 and 2003. The Confederations Cup is an international soccer contest among eight teams in the year before an upcoming World Cup. Qualifiers include the previous World Cup champions and the national team that hosts the upcoming World Cup. The CAF Africa Cup of Nations, AFC Asian Cup, EUFA Euro Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, OFC Nations Cup and Copa America champions also participate in the Confederations Cup.
Additionally, France won an Olympic tournament in 1984.
French Football Federation
The French Football Federation (FFF) was founded in 1919. It oversees all aspects of professional and amateur soccer throughout France and French overseas territories. The Federation organizes, develops and monitors the way soccer is taught and practiced by establishing technical rules, assembling the national teams and issuing licenses. The Federation manages relationships with foreign soccer associations that are affiliated with the Federation Internationale de Football Association and other national or public authorities.
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.