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|HOW THEY QUALIFIED
|2||Bosnia & Herzegovina||10||6||2||2||9||20|
|Sep 3, 2010 France 0-1 Belarus
Sep 7, 2010 Bosnia & Hezegovina 0-2 France
Oct 9, 2010 France 2-0 Romania
Oct 12, 2010 France 2-0 Luxembourg
Mar 25, 2011 Luxembourg 0-2 France
Jun 3, 2011 Belarus 1-1 France
Sep 2, 2011 Albania 1-2 France
Sep 6, 2011 Romania 0-0 France
Oct 7, 2011 France 3-0 Albania
Oct 11, 2011 France 1-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina
|3 - Karim Benzema,
Yoann Gourcuff, Florent Malouda
2 - Loic Remy
1 - Yann M'Vila,
Qualifying for France was not an easy affair. After a turbulent World Cup campaign, they were quickly thrust into further turmoil with a home defeat against a well-organised Belarus side, though that would be their sole defeat of the campaign, and the last time les Bleus have been beaten in any match.
Crucial to their quest was their immediate ability to bounce back in Bosnia, where they defeated their hosts 2-0. A series of solid if unspectacular performances followed, leaving their final match, also against Safet Susic's side, crucial.
Edin Dzeko would give Bosnia & Herzegovina the lead, but a nervous French side riddled with injury problems battled back and qualified thanks to a Samir Nasri penalty.
|PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS
||Did not qualify|
||Did not qualify||1992
||Did not qualify
||Did not qualify||2000
||Did not qualify||2004
||Did not qualify||2008
||Qualified as group winners
France may have won the European Championship twice, but their record in the competition as a whole is remarkably mundane otherwise.
Led by the great Michel Platini in 1984, les Bleus picked up their maiden success on home soil, having barely tasted the final stages of the competition previously, and they would repeat that victory in dramatic circumstances over Italy 16 years later.
Since then, les Bleus crashed out to eventual-winners Greece at the quarter-final stage in 2004 before failing miserably to make even the slightest impression on the ‘Group of Death’ four years later, when they were humiliated by the Netherlands and Italy.
Better is hoped of this team.
|THE MANAGER | LAURENT BLANC
Appointed in the wake of Raymond Domenech’s catastrophic reign, Blanc was charged with picking up the pieces of a France side in disarray following a dreadful World Cup 2010 campaign that had left the squad fractured.
His coaching CV to that point might have been short, consisting of no more than two years with Girondins de Bordeaux, but it was also remarkably impressive as ‘Le President’ had led the Stade Chaban-Delmas club to the Ligue 1 title in his debut season and followed that up with a charge to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Blanc is no stranger to the international game, either, having captained France as a classy centre-back during their 1998 World Cup triumph, albeit missing the final due to a controversial suspension.
|THE CAPTAIN | HUGO LLORIS
France coach Blanc showed his immense faith in goalkeeper Hugo Lloris by announcing he would be the captain of the national team for Euro 2012 back in February.
Already with over 30 caps to his name at the age of 25, the Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper is regarded as one of the most promising young players in his position in Europe, having played a key role for les Gones since signing from hometown club Nice in 2008.
Though veterans such as Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda have more international experience, having played in the 2006 World Cup final, Lloris is the figurehead of a new era of the French game, which is why he has been chosen as the skipper ahead of such luminaries.
|THE STAR PLAYER | FRANCK RIBERY
Picking out an individual star from the ranks of talented French players is no easy task, particularly as so many of these men have flattered to deceive on the international stage in recent times.
Ribery, in particular, is a player to have come under scrutiny domestically as he is perceived to be too individualistic and egotistical. Blanc has, however, stressed the importance of the Bayern Munich winger as a player who can turn a game in an instant.
Injury and loss of form have prevented the former Olympique de Marseille man from reaching his peak yet under Blanc, but if he can produce the kind of play for France that he does on an almost weekly basis for Bayern, les Bleus’ level will undoubtedly benefit.
|THE EMERGING TALENT | YANN M'VILA
That no player has been used more than the dynamic Stade Rennais midfielder since Blanc took charge in the summer of 2010 is a testament to how highly rated the young Amiens-born player is in the France camp.
Very much an all-rounder in the heart of the field, M’Vila has been praised primarily for his defensive attributes, but this shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow the fact that he is very able to produce offensively when the ball is at his feet, even if it is a personal aim to score more frequently.
Linked with a potential move to some of Europe’s biggest clubs in the summer, including Arsenal and Real Madrid, a successful Euro 2012 will doubtless add to his already burgeoning reputation.
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