France

A controversial goal has brought them this far, but can they go all the way?

World Cup 2010, World Cup team
World Cup 2010, World Cup team
World Cup 2010, World Cup team
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The team

Over the past 10 years, France have earned themselves a reputation as one of the best teams in the world. FIFA World Cup winners in 1998, their form dropped slightly in 2002, only for them to reach the final again in 2006, when they came agonisingly close to lifting the trophy again before being beaten by Italy on penalties. The road to South Africa has been tricky, with France finishing second in their group to Serbia, but, then, a similar story could be told ahead of their 2006 campaign. Second time lucky?

The coach

Raymond Domenech
France’s longest serving coach, in charge of the team since 2004, Domenech has led Les Bleus to the finals of the last World Cup, but also been blamed for their poor performance in Euro 2008. After a tricky qualifying session, which side will his luck land on?

Player to watch

Thierry Henry
After the ‘Hand of Gaul’ incident in the play-off against Ireland, Henry will be looking to redeem himself. Taking the captain’s armband is a good start, and he is France’s all-time top goalscorer, plus a veteran of the 1998 World Cup-winning team.

We’re on the ball

World Cup appearances: 12
Previous best: Winners, 1998
Odds of winning: 14/1
Strange but true: France was one of only four European teams that participated at the inaugural World Cup in 1930
Fixtures: Uruguay, June 11, 10.30pm, Cape Town Mexico, June 17, 10.30pm Polokwane South Africa, June 22, 6pm Bloemfontein

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