On July 12, 1998, Les Bleus ignited France with a fire that burned on for days when they took Brazil apart in a sensational 3-0 FIFA World Cup final victory on home soil. A million euphoric Frenchmen and women sung and danced all night long on the famous Champs Elysees in Paris. The celebrations went on for days. The superbly talented Zinedine Zidane crowned a glittering tournament performance with two goals against the South Americans in the final.
France, founder members of FIFA, have competed in 11 FIFA World Cup finals but the 1998 achievement eclipses all else. Dazzling performances from players like Zidane, Youri Djorkaeff and Fabien Barthez enraptured the footballing world. Under coach Aime Jacquet, the home team were simply unbeatable.
Sixty years earlier in 1938, France had hosted another FIFA World Cup. On that occasion the hosts were less fortunate, going out in the quarter-final to eventual champions Italy. Twenty years later, in Sweden in 1958, just Fontaine set a finals record with 13 goals - a record that remains unbroken to this day.
In the years that followed, France produced many great talents. In the 1980s, players like Michel Platini, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana thrilled lovers of the beautiful game with their agility and flair. But despite possessing one of the best midfields ever assembled, France fell twice to Germany in consecutive semi-finals, first in a dramatic thriller in Spain in 1982 and then in Mexico in 1986. In Seville, France led 3-1 in extra time before Germany fought back to win on penalties.
Two years after winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup, France continued their sensational run by triumphing in the 2000 UEFA European Championships beating Italy 2-1 with an extra-time golden goal by David Trezeguet in a heart-stopping final.
WC participations: 11 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002)
WC honours: World champions (1998)
Continental titles: 2 times European champions (1984, 2000)
Slogan: LibertÃ©, egalitÃ©, Jules Rimet