The team: Whatever happens in Brazil, it can’t possibly be worse than four years ago when France fell into open revolt in South Africa. The debacle, which culminated in the players going on strike, led to the end of many international careers and also resulted in coach Raymond Domenech leaving his job. Thankfully for Les Bleus, the camp seems a happier place today, yet the team is still struggling for form. Drawn in a tough qualification group with Spain, France duly finished second before suffering a scare against Ukraine in the playoffs. After losing 2-0 in the first leg, they turned it around at the Stade de France with a 3-0 victory. Such grit and determination will be much needed in Brazil.
The coach: Didier Deschamps
One of the key players in France’s 1998 FIFA World Cup triumph, Didier Deschamps has a big job on his hands in repeating the success with the current crop. Maintaining player harmony may be the most difficult task, but there’s definitely talent to work with.
Key player: Karim Benzema
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has really excelled this season for the Spanish giants as part of a front three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. His goals will be vital if France are to venture into the knockout stages.
World ranking: 16
World Cup appearance: 13
Previous best: Winners in 1998
Qualification: Second in group and playoff winner
Form (qualifiers): WWDWLDWWLW
Fixtures: June 15 vs. Honduras; June 20 vs. Switzerland; June 26 vs. Ecuador