France (opens in new tab) facing Argentina (opens in new tab) in the final of the 2022 World Cup (opens in new tab) on Sunday, with the aim of becoming world champion for the third time.
Les Bleus also want to keep the trophy – something that hasn’t been done since Brazil clinched the feat some 60 years ago.
Since reaching the final for the first time as hosts in 1998, the French have taken part in football’s most important competition three times. Here, FourFourTwo revisits those matches – all of which were memorable in their own way…
1998: France 3-0 Brazil
1998 remains the best year in French football history: the country hosted the World Cup for the second time and Les Bleus got their hands on the famous trophy for the first time.
Zinedine Zidane (who had made his mark in the World Cup finals in a very different way eight years later) led the show in France 98 – and his first-half brace against Brazil put the hosts well on their way to victory.
Emmanuel Petit made it 3-0 in second half stoppage time, as France – captained by current manager Didier Deschamps – recorded their biggest win in a World Cup final since 1970 (and the joint biggest of all time) .
2006: Italy 1-1 France (5-3 on penalties)
After a group stage crash in 2002, France reached their second World Cup final in 2006 – and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons…
You may remember where you were when Zidane’s career ended in disgrace at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. After Zidane put Les Bleus ahead against Italy with a seventh-minute penalty, Zidane was shown red in extra time for using his head to crash Italy’s equalizer Marco Materazzi to the ground. Zidane later claimed that Materazzi provoked him by insulting his mother (which Materazzi denied).
France managed to hold onto penalties, but there was no redemption for Zidane as the Azzurri ran out 5-3 winners in the shootout (where Materazzi converted, of course).
2018: France 4-2 Croatia
France entered the 2018 World Cup as a lot of people wanted to claim their second crown – and they lived up to their label of favorites when they went all the way in Russia, beating Croatia in the second highest-scoring final of all time (behind Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Sweden in 1958).
The first-ever own goal in a World Cup final, scored by Mario Mandzukic (who would later receive a consolation down the right), put France ahead, only for Croatia to equalize through Ivan Perisic.
However, Antoine Griezmann restored France’s lead from the penalty spot not long before the break, before Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé (this time France’s main man heading into the final) rounded things up in the second half.
Les Bleus’ second World Cup success saw boss Deschamps join Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as one of only three men to win the tournament as a player and coach.
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