France

2006-06-01 12:53

Berlin - Thirty-two teams have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals which take place in Germany from June 9 - July 9.

FRANCE

Honours:

World Cup appearances: 11 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002)

World Cup best: Winners (1998)

European champions: 2 (1984, 2002)

Fifa world ranking: 7

Odds: 12/1

Coach: Raymond Domenech

An abrasive personality who has struggled to win over French fans since taking over from Jacques Santini after Euro 2004, Domenech was subjected to a barrage of criticism as his team made hard work of their qualifying campaign.

He was widely blamed for the early retirements of Zinedine Zidane, Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram, all of whom subsequently reversed their decisions.

A combative left-back during his playing days, Domenech was a regular member of the French squad but never appeared at the World Cup.

Key player: Thierry Henry

Playing in his third World Cup, Henry more than any other player in the French squad will be out to make his mark on the tournament after a poor showing in 2002 where he failed to score a goal.

Though Henry appears to have lost a yard of the electrifying pace this year that once made him almost unplayable, he has enjoyed a prolific season with Arsenal in England and Europe.

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Fabien Barthez (Marseille), Grégory Coupet (Lyon), Mickaël Landreau (Nantes)

Defenders:

Eric Abidal (Lyon), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Newcastle/ENG), Pascal Chimbonda (Wigan/ENG), William Gallas (Chelsea/ENG), Gaël Givet (Monaco), Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich/GER), Mikaël Silvestre (Manchester United/ENG), Lilian Thuram (Juventus Turin/ITA)

Midfielders:

Vikash Dhorasoo (Paris SG), Alou Diarra (Lens), Claude Makelele (Chelsea/ENG), Florent Malouda (Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Juventus Turin/ITA), Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid/ESP)

Forwards: Djibril Cissé (Liverpool/ENG), Thierry Henry (Arsenal/ENG), Franck Ribéry (Marseille), Louis Saha (Manchester United/ENG), David Trezeguet (Juventus Turin/ITA), Sylvain Wiltord (Lyon)

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