France played in the finals of the previous two world championships and won the title once. If Kolo Muani had used the opportunity at the end of the second overtime, France would have defended the title, but Martinez brought the title to Argentina with a great intervention in that situation and then in the penalty shootout. France almost won the European title, but at the last step in 2016, they were defeated by Portugal in the final with a great goal by Eder.
In between their two appearances at the World Cup, France had a disappointing participation at UEFA Euro 2020 as they were already eliminated at the start of the knockout stage by Switzerland. In Germany, a much better performance is expected from the French, who will compete in Group D with the Netherlands, Austria and another team that will come from the UEFA Nations League playoffs.
France won two titles in three finals
France hosted the first UEFA Euro which was held in 1960 but took the last place out of the four national teams that participated in that Euro. In the next five Euros, France did not participate, and then at UEFA Euro 1984, Michel Platini dominated and the French won their first title. France was also the host of this Euro and Platini wrote the history of UEFA Euro because he scored as many as 9 goals and is still the record holder for the number of goals in one Euro.
In the final, the French were better than Spain 2-0 and Platini scored a goal in every match. France played a new final at the end of the last century at the tournament that was held in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2000 and this national team won the second title. This time the number of participants was twice as high as in 1984, but France was again the best.
In this competition, France played three exciting games in the knockout stage against very strong rivals such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. The best player of the tournament was another legend of French football, Zinedine Zidane, who scored the golden goal against Portugal in the semi-finals, and then in the same way France beat Italy in the final 2-1. The deciding goal for the second European title was scored by David Trezeguet.
Four years earlier, the French missed out on another final as they were beaten by the Czech Republic on penalties in the semi-finals. For the third European final, France waited 16 years after the second title, but this time it was the first defeat in the finals for the French. Again France was the host as in 1984 but Portugal shocked the French fans in the final with a goal by Eder in the second extra time.
Two years later, France made amends for that defeat in front of their home fans by winning the world title in Russia. It was the second world championship title for the French, who won their first title on home soil in two decades. In 2006, France missed the chance to win the World Cup against the team they defeated in the final in 2000.
Zidane was a hero in 2000, and in 2006 he made a reckless move when he headed Marco Materazzi. For years, the French have been one of the best national teams in Europe and the world, as evidenced by three finals in the last four major competitions. That’s no surprise when you have one of the best players in the world like Kylian Mbappe but also a bunch of talented players coming into the national team every year.
All the successes were achieved under the command of Didier Deschamps, another legend of French football who would certainly like to end his era in the national team with one European title. France is currently the second favorite to win the tournament according to bookmakers’ estimates. In the group stage, the French will again play the Netherlands, who they beat twice in the qualifiers, along with Austria, who played very well in the qualifiers.
At the previous Euro, Mbappe missed the decisive penalty, which eliminated France already at the start of the knockout phase, and he is certainly motivated to bring his country the title of European champion. Deschamps is aware that his national team has a serious job ahead of them, already in a group that could have been even more difficult, but in the end, solid teams that are not to be underestimated arrived in the group. France will start the competition with a duel against Austria.
“It’s a strong draw overall but it could hardly be otherwise, given the quality of the qualified teams. There is such a density in Europe, the manner of the draw could only give us groups of a high or very high standard, since the final group position in qualifying was preferred to the FIFA rankings.
With all the respect I have for these nations, those in Pot 2 are not superior to some of those in Pot 3, or even in Pot 4. Therefore, in Group B, Spain Croatia and Italy, three of the top ten sides in the FIFA rankings will compete against each other. Compared to this group, the others seem more balanced. We have drawn a solid group of teams.”