WORLD CUP APPEARANCES
WORLD CUP RECORD
GOALS SCORED (RANK)
France’s first World Cup game was a 4-1 victory over Mexico, but it was followed by 1-0 losses to Argentina and Chile that eliminated the country from contention.
At the 1934 World Cup, a single-elimination format, France drew Austria in the First Round. Austria prevailed in extra time and went on to place fourth.
France participated in all three World Cups of the 1930s, one of just four nations to do so. In 1938, it served as host. France defeated Belgium in the First Round but lost to the reigning champions, Italy, in the Quarter-finals.
World Cup Not Held
A 1-0-1 record was not enough to reach the Knockout Stage. France lost 1-0 to Yugoslavia and defeated Mexico 3-2.
France’s best World Cup performance yet was powered by the individual play of Just Fontaine. His 13 goals remain the most ever scored in a single World Cup. Fontaine helped guide France to the third-place game, where he scored four times in a 6-3 victory over West Germany.
After failing to qualify in 1962, France returned to the World Cup in 1966 but did not record a win. The team tied with Mexico and then lost to Uruguay and England.
Did Not Participate
Grouped with the eventual champion and the third-place finisher, Argentina and Italy, respectively, France finished 1-0-2, dropping games to both countries.
After advancing to the Second Round, France defeated Austria and Northern Ireland to reach the four-team knockout Stage. Though France lost to West Germany and Poland, it still claimed fourth place.
France made another deep run in 1986, beating Italy and Brazil before falling to West Germany. In the third-place game, France defeated Belgium 4-2, matching the 1958 World Cup for the team’s best finish.
Did Not Participate
Hosting the World Cup for the second time, France used its homefield advantage to generate a Group Stage-best +8 goal differential as the team went 3-0-0. In the Knockout Stage, France narrowly defeated Paraguay, Italy and Croatia before facing the defending champions, Brazil, in the Final. France won 3-0 for the country’s first World Cup title.
So much for a title defense. France played in the tournament’s opening match and lost 1-0 to Senegal, a first-time World Cup participant. From there, the team had a 0-0 draw against Uruguay and lost 2-0 to Denmark, failing to score single goal across three games.
France recovered from its disastrous 2002 World Cup by navigating all the way to the Final in 2006. In the Knockout Stage, France beat Spain, Brazil and Portugal before losing to Italy on penalties in the championship game.
After a great performance at the 2006 World Cup, France was unable to deliver on a worthy sequel four years later. An opening draw to Uruguay was followed by losses to Mexico and the host nation, South Africa.
France won its group with a 2-0-1 record and defeated Nigeria in the Round of 16. It then met Germany in the Quarter-finals and lost 1-0 as Germany went on to win the tournament.
France edged Sweden to take first place in its World Cup qualification UEFA group. 20 years after winning the country’s only World Cup, the team will look to add some hardware in Russia.