The Road to South Africa!
France’s national soccer team captivated many thousands of fans in the world during the 1998 when they earned the global tournament. For the first time, the national team won the World Cup. Led by its star Zinedine Zidane, the Europeans beat Brazil 3-0 in the final. They had never reached the final of the World Cup that its rival had won four times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994).On the other side, many people hailed the team’s achievement as one of the greatest sporting moments in French history. Aside from Mr Zidane, France has produced great football players such as Just Fontaine, Michel Platini, Manuel Amoros, Luis Fernández, Jean Tigana, Eric Cantona, and Alain Giresse. At the same time, there are a few world-class coaches: Henri Michel, Jean-Michel Cavalli, and Philippe Troussier.
Country Profile: France
The Republic of France is located in Western Europe. It is bordered by eight countries: Spain and Andorra to the south, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland and Germany to the east, Luxembourg and Belgium to the north. It covers 211, 200 square miles (more than twice the size of Nevada, US). Over 65 million people live in France. Paris is the capital city. The country’s other cities include Lyon, Marseilles, and Lille. Economically, it has long been among the world’s most industrialized nations. On the other side, France is very famous for its notable women, from Joan of Arc to Madame Marie Curie and Marie-Jose Perec, scientists, gastronomy, multiethnic society, and tourism. Annually, over 70 million foreign visitors came to France’s palaces, fashion boutiques, museums, galleries and luxury restaurants. This country is home to the UNESCO. Finally, France is the birthplace of Jules Rimet, one of the architects of the FIFA World Cup.
World Cup Tradition
The European nation made its World Championship debut in the early 1930 when it participated in the first global event. Subsequently the men’s soccer team competed in Rome’34. Between July 4 and 19 July 1938, the III World Cup was held in Paris, where the host country came in eighth place. From the 1950s to 1970s, the European republic appeared in the 1954, 1958, 1966 and 1978 events. By the early 80s, the national team came in fourth place, after Italy, West Germany and Poland. Meanwhile, it finished fifth at the Games of the XIX Olympiad in the United Mexican States.
The biggest surprise of the 1984 Olympic Games was France. The national team was all but unbeatable in the event and picked up a gold medal for the first time, at the expense of Brazil and Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Meanwhile, they provided one of the most interesting moments of the Olympics when they defeated Brazil. As a result, they were one of the favorites to win the 1986 World Championship in Mexico City, along with Brazil and Argentina. During that event, France, lead by Michel Platini, placed third, outpacing Brazil and England. In spite of these gains, between 1990 and 1994, it could not qualify for the global tournament. In that time, Paris was awarded the 1998 World Cup. On July, 12 1998, France defeated Brazil team 3-0 and became the sixth host country to win the men’s football World Championship. It won all seven of their matches. In the first round, they beat South Africa (3-0), Saudi Arabia (4-0), and Denmark (2-1). In the next round, it defeated Paraguay 1-0 and Italy (4-3). With a victory over Croatia (2-1) in the semi-finals, France qualified for the finals for the first time.
The men’s soccer team was runner up in the 18th World Cup in Germany. This tournament was the 13rd World Cup in which it has participated. France became one of the 32 national teams to qualify for the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, France finished 29th place in Africa, ahead of Honduras, Cameroon and North Korea.