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France – World Cup Profile

France head to Qatar looking to become the first nation to successfully defend their World Cup crown since Brazil in 1962.

Les Bleus finished unbeaten during their World Cup qualification process, topping UEFA Group D with five wins and three draws, ahead of Ukraine who also finished unbeaten in second place.

On the road to Qatar, France have lost key members of their triumphant 2018 squad, most notably in the midfield areas as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante due to injury. Despite this setback, France are still considered amongst the tournament favourites due to the abundance of talent at their disposal.

 

History at the World Cup

1930 – Group stage
1934 – Round of 16
1938 – Quarter-finals
1954 – Group stage
1958 – Third place
1966 – Group stage
1978 – Group stage
1982 – Fourth place
1986 – Third place
1998 – Champions
2002 – Group stage
2006 – Runners-up
2010 – Group stage
2014 – Quarter-finals
2018 – Champions

Player to watch

Karim Benzema is enjoying a remarkable twilight to his career. He will turn 35 the day after the World Cup final but he goes to Qatar fresh from winning the Ballon d’Or as recognition for his magnificent performances in captaining Real Madrid to glory in La Liga and the Champions League last season. Benzema was frozen out of the France team for five and a half years — missing the 2018 World Cup win — due to his role in a blackmail scandal involving a sextape and his international teammate Mathieu Valbuena. He was convicted for his role in that affair last year but by then he had returned to the France side, playing at Euro 2020 and in the team that won the UEFA Nations League.

Group fixtures

November 22: France v Australia – Al Janoub Stadium
November 26: France v Denmark – Stadium 974
November 30: Tunisia v France – Education City Stadium

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