|Team Colours:||Blue Shirt / White Shorts|
|Best Finish:||Winner; 1984 & 2000|
Road to 2012
France left it late to secure 1st place in Group D, they topped the group with a 1-1 draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina who had to settle for a play-off place. Les Blues had lost their first fixture 0-1 to Belarus then went unbeaten for their remaining 9 fixtures, only conceding 4 in the process. Four convincing 2-0 wins followed their opening defeat, victories against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and home & away victories over lowly Luxembourg. France were outscored by 2nd place Bosnia and Herzegovina(17), Karim Benzema, Florent Malouda & Yoann Gourcuff scored three goals each of France’s 15 qualifying goals. Laurent Blanc will be relishing taking his new-look French team into his first competition as manager, after their dismal display under Raymond Domenech in South Africa.
Manager – Laurent Blanc
Laurent Blanc will take France into another international tournament, but this time as the ‘gaffer’. He was appointed manager after France’s self-destruction in the 2010 World Cup, the last time Blanc represented the national team was on the field in Euro 2000 and France went on to lift the trophy. His first act as manager was to suspend all 23 players from the 2010 World Cup squad for his first game as a collective punishment. Blanc has bags of experience, formerly playing for Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan as well as French sides Auxerre and Marseille. He has brought a new system and seems to have the temperamental French squad under-control and recently masterminded a 1-2 friendly victory over Germany. France could be the ‘dark horse’ of this summer’s tournament.
Captain – Hugo Lloris
Hugo Lloris was given the armband after Laurent Blanc re-shuffled the France squad following the sacking of Raymond Domenech in 2010. Lloris currently playing for French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais, one of the few survivors to keep his place in the national squad after a dismal World Cup campaign in South Afirca. The shot-stopper is still young and at only 25 will captain France in the upcoming Euro championships, during qualification he played all 10 fixtures only conceding 4 goals.
One to watch – Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema looks like France’s most dangerous man and will most likely lead the French attack in Poland/Ukraine. Benzema’s having a decent season with Real Madrid so far, although currently behind team-mates Gonzalo Higuain & Cristiano Ronaldo with 13 goals. He made a large contribution to France’s qualification, 7 appearance scoring 3 goals with 2 assists. His sheer pace and quality around the box will give opposition defenders some sleepless nights.