After the catastrophe of the 2010 World Cup the French will be looking for international redemption at Euro 2012.
Laurent Blanc has already returned cohesiveness and unity to a talented group of players. Is it too early for them to go all the way?
FIFA Ranking: 16
Elo Ranking: 14
Best Performance at European Championships: Two time winners (1984 and 2000) In their own home country, France triumphed at the 1984 tournament thanks to a virtuoso tournament from Michel Platini. France emerged from their group with a perfect record, having defeated Denmark 1-0, Belgium 5-0 and Yugoslavia 3-2. Platini scored six in the opening games. He added another in the 3-2 win over Portugal in the semi-final, and again scored in the 2-0 win over Spain in the final.
In 2000 it was another virtuoso performance from a talismanic playmaker which led France to glory. France finished second in their group behind the Netherlands, who had defeated them 3-2 in the final group match. France had already beaten Denmark 3-0 and the Czech Republic 2-1 by that point. Zidane scored as France knocked out Spain in the quarter-final and again against Portugal in the semi-final. In the final France beat Italy with an equalising goal from Sylvian Wiltord in the fourth minute of injury time and a golden-goal winner in extra time from David Trezeguet.
How they qualified: Winners of Group D France qualified ahead of Bosnia in Group D, losing only one of their ten matches. Only Belarus were able to beat France in their group. Still, the French were relatively inconsistent even in proceeding, drawing against Bosnia, Belarus and Romania away from home.
The Boss: Laurent Blanc Brought in to stabilise the national team after the calamitous ending to Raymond Domenech's tenure, Blanc had a wealth of playing experience at some of the world's biggest clubs. As a cultured defender he played for Montpellier, Auxerre, Napoli, Nimes, Saint Etienne, Barcelona, Marseille, Inter Milan and Manchester United.
When he moved into management with Bordeaux he continued his successes, finishing second in Le Championnat and winning manager of the year. In 2008/09 he led Bordeaux to the double. Since he took over the French job he has led the team to victories over Brazil, Germany and England.
One to watch: Mathieu Debuchy (Lille) With injury to Bakary Sagna, the position of right-back is up for grabs. Lille's Debuchy is the most likely candidate to fill that position and raise an already growing profile. Believed to be set to join the French ex-pat community in Newcastle, Debuchy is an industrious, hard-working full back who can provide opportunities from wider areas. A thoroughly modern full-back.
Likely line-up: Blanc has generally deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation. Hugo Lloris will captain the side and is certain to start in goals. With Sagna's injury it is likely that Mathieu Debuchy will deputise, with Adil Rami and Philippe Mexes as centre-backs. Gael Clichy should play on the left in the absence of Patrice Evra.
Arsenal target Yann M'Vila will play in the holding role, with either Yoann Cabaye or Alou Diarra. Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez will play behind the prolific Karim Benzema. Of course, Blanc could change things completely and play Olivier Giroud and Benzema together.
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