France national football team
The France national football team represents France in international football and is controlled by the French Football Federation known as FFF, or in French: Fédération française de football. The team's colours are blue and red, the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus; the French side are the reigning World Cup holders, having won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 15 July 2018. France play home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis and their manager is Didier Deschamps, they have won two FIFA World Cups, two UEFA European Championships, two FIFA Confederations Cups and one Olympic tournament. France experienced much of its success in four major eras: in the 1950s, 1980s, late 1990s/early 2000s, mid/late 2010s which resulted in numerous major honours. France was one of the four European teams that participated in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and, although having been eliminated in the qualification stage six times, is one of only three teams that have entered every World Cup qualifying cycle.
In 1958, the team, led by Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine, finished in third place at the FIFA World Cup. In 1984, led by Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini, won UEFA Euro 1984 and Football at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Under the captaincy of Didier Deschamps and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998. Two years the team triumphed at UEFA Euro 2000. France won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003, reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, which it lost 5–3 on penalties to Italy; the team reached the final of UEFA Euro 2016, where they lost 1–0 to Portugal in extra time. France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, defeating Croatia 4–2 in the final match on 15 July 2018; this was the second time they had won the tournament after winning it on home soil in 1998. France was the first national team that has won the three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, the Olympic tournament after victory in the Confederations Cup in 2001.
Since 2001, Argentina and Brazil are the other two national teams. They have won their respective continental championship; the France national football team was created in 1904 around the time of FIFA's foundation on 21 May 1904 and contested its first official international match on 1 May 1904 against Belgium in Brussels, which ended in a 3–3 draw. The following year, on 12 February 1905, France contested their first-ever home match against Switzerland; the match was played at the Parc des Princes in front of 500 supporters. France won the match 1–0 with the only goal coming from Gaston Cyprès. Due to disagreements between FIFA and the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, the country's sports union, France struggled to establish an identity. On 9 May 1908, the French Interfederal Committee, a rival organization to the USFSA, ruled that FIFA would now be responsible for the club's appearances in forthcoming Olympic Games and not the USFSA. In 1919, the CFI transformed themselves into the French Football Federation.
In 1921, the USFSA merged with the FFF. In July 1930, France appeared in the inaugural FIFA World Cup, held in Uruguay. In their first-ever World Cup match, France defeated Mexico 4–1 at the Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo. Lucien Laurent became notable in the match as he scored not only France's first World Cup goal, but the first goal in World Cup history. Conversely, France became the first team to not score in a match after losing 1–0 to fellow group stage opponents Argentina. Another loss to Chile resulted in the team bowing out in the group stage; the following year saw the first selection of a black player to the national team. Raoul Diagne, of Senegalese descent, earned his first cap on 15 February in a 2–1 defeat to Czechoslovakia. Diagne played with the team at the 1938 World Cup, alongside Larbi Benbarek, one of the first players of North African origin to play for the national team. At the 1934 World Cup, France suffered elimination in the opening round. On the team's return to Paris, they were greeted as heroes by a crowd of over 4,000 supporters.
France hosted the 1938 World Cup and reached the quarter-finals, losing 3–1 to defending champions Italy. The 1950s saw France handed its first Golden Generation composed of players such as Just Fontaine, Raymond Kopa, Jean Vincent, Robert Jonquet, Maryan Wisnieski, Thadée Cisowski, Armand Penverne. At the 1958 World Cup, France reached the semi-finals losing to Brazil. In the third place match, France defeated West Germany 6–3 with Fontaine recording four goals, which brought his goal tally in the competition to 13, a World Cup record; the record still stands today. France hosted the inaugural UEFA European Football Championship in 1960 and, for the second straight international tournament, reached the semi-finals. In the round, France faced Yugoslavia and were shocked 5–4 despite being up 4–2 heading into the 75th minute. In the third-place match, France were defeated 2–0 by the Czechoslovakians; the 1960s and 70s saw France decline playing under several managers and failing to qualify for numerous international tournaments.
On 25 April 1964, Henri Guérin was installed as the team's first manager. Under Guérin, France failed to qualify for the 1964 European Nations' Cup; the team did return to major international play following qualification for the 1966 World Cup. The team lost in the group stage portion of the tournament. Guérin was fired follo
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards score more goals on behalf of their team than other players. Modern team formations include one to three forwards. Unconventional formations may include none; the traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, do the majority of the ball handling outside the box; the present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder in the 4–3–1–2 or 4–1–2–1–2 formations.
The term "target man" is used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team. These players are tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball; the term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, one centre-forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number nine – Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927–28 season; the number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, have qualities which are suited to both positions.
Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals. They are fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, the position, to a lesser degree, is associated with the number 10, worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, with numbers 7 and 11, which are associated with wingers. Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years; such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards. More two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10, exemplified by Dennis Bergkamp.
Other number 10s who play further back, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, are described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker. The second striker position is a loosely defined and most misapplied description of a player positioned somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he is a "target-man" or more of a "poacher", the Number 10 or attacking midfielder, while showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe Roberto Baggio's playing role, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. Conceivably, a Number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he is a prolific goalscorer. Second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the Number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly as assist providers.
In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore" or "seconda punta", whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante" or "ponta-de-lança". The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries; the inside forwards would support the centre-forward and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him or her with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left. In early 2–3–5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the advent of
Thierry Daniel Henry is a French professional football coach and former player, most the manager of Ligue 1 club Monaco. Considered one of the best strikers of all-time, Henry made his professional debut with Monaco in 1994, where good form led to an international call-up in 1998, after which he signed for defending Serie A champions Juventus. Limited playing time at Juve where he was played out of position on the wing allowed him to sign for Premier League club Arsenal for £11 million a year later, it was at Arsenal. Under long-time mentor and coach Arsène Wenger, Henry became a prolific striker and Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions, he won two FA Cups and two league titles at the club, including one unbeaten. In 2003 and 2004, Henry was the runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, he was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice, the FWA Footballer of the Year three times, has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year five times. Henry spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final.
In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to Barcelona for a fee of €24 million. In 2009, he was an integral part of the club's historic treble when they won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, he went on to achieve an unprecedented sextuple by winning the Supercopa de España, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2010, he joined New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, where he won the MLS Supporters' Shield in 2013, he returned to Arsenal on loan for two months in 2012, before retiring in 2014. Henry enjoyed sustained success with France, winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. In October 2007, he became his country's record goalscorer. After amassing 123 appearances and 51 goals, Henry retired from international football after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Henry was one of the top commercially marketed footballers. After retiring, Henry transitioned into coaching, was appointed as an assistant coach at Belgium in 2016, before assuming the role as the head coach at Monaco in 2018.
He was relieved of his duties at Monaco in January 2019. Henry is of Antillean heritage: his father, Antoine, is from Guadeloupe, his mother, Maryse, is from Martinique, he was born and raised in Les Ulis suburb of Paris which, despite sometimes being seen as a tough neighbourhood, provided good footballing facilities. As a seven-year-old, Henry showed great potential, prompting Claude Chezelle to recruit him to the local club CO Les Ulis, his father pressured him to attend training, although the youngster was not drawn to football. He joined US Palaiseau in 1989, but after a year his father fell out with the club, so Henry moved to ES Viry-Châtillon and played there for two years. US Palaiseau coach Jean-Marie Panza, Henry's future mentor, followed him there. In 1990, Monaco sent scout Arnold Catalano to watch Henry at the age of 13 in a match. Henry scored all six goals as his side won 6–0. Catalano asked him to join Monaco without attending a trial first. Catalano requested that Henry complete a course at the elite INF Clairefontaine academy, despite the director's reluctance to admit Henry due to his poor school results, he was allowed to complete the course and joined Arsène Wenger's Monaco as a youth player.
Subsequently, Henry signed professional forms with Monaco, made his professional debut on 31 August 1994, in a 2–0 loss against Nice. Although Wenger suspected that Henry should be deployed as a striker, he put Henry on the left wing because he believed that his pace, natural ball control and skill would be more effective against full backs than centre-backs. After a tentative start to his Monaco career, Henry was named the French Young Footballer of the Year in 1996, in the 1996–97 season, his solid performances helped the club win the Ligue 1 title. During the 1997–98 season, he was instrumental in leading his club to the UEFA Champions League semi-final, setting a French record by scoring seven goals in the competition. By his third season, he had received his first cap for the national team, was part of the winning team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he continued to impress at his tenure with Monaco, in his five seasons with the French club, the young winger scored 20 league goals in 105 appearances.
Henry left Monaco in January 1999, one year before his intimate and closest teammate David Trezeguet, moved to Italian club Juventus for £10.5 million. He played on the wing, but he was ineffective against the defensive discipline exhibited by teams in Serie A, struggling in a position, uncharacteristic for him, scoring just three goals in 16 appearances. Unsettled in Italy, Henry transferred from Juventus on 3 August 1999 to Arsenal for an estimated fee of £11 million, reuniting with his former manager Arsène Wenger, it was at Arsenal that Henry made his name as a world-class footballer, although his transfer was not without controversy, Wenger was convinced he was worth the transfer fee. Brought in as a replacement for fellow French forward Nicolas Anelka, Henry was moulded into a striker by Wenger, a move that would pay rich dividends in years to come. However, doubts were raised about his ability to adapt to the quick and physical English game when he failed to score in his first eight games.
After several difficult months in England, Henry conceded that he had to "be re-taught everything about the art of striking." These doubts were dispelled when he ended his first season at Arsenal with an impressive goal tally of 26. His
Robert Emmanuel Pires is a French football coach and former professional player. Pires played for French clubs Metz and Marseille prior to his time with Arsenal, where he won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles including the club's unbeaten season of 2003–04. A former France international, Pires earned 79 caps between 1996 and 2004 for his country, including winning both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000, he has been included in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, was the Player of the Tournament for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, FWA Player of the Year for the 2001–02 season, Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for the 1995–96 season, was included in the FIFA 100 by Pelé. He was voted by Arsenal fans as the 6th greatest player in the club's history. Pires played the majority of his career as a left winger, but could play all across the midfield or in a position to support the forward line. Pires is coaching at Arsenal. Pires was born in France to a Portuguese father and Spanish mother.
Pires, the elder of two boys, spent most of his childhood dressed in two football shirts that reflected his divided loyalty. One was a Benfica shirt and the other was a Real Madrid shirt. Pires confessed he had difficulty in school because his did not speak French well at the time, due to the fact his parents only spoke Spanish and Portuguese, his passion for football was inherited from his father, António, who played with Les Corpo, a local team, every Saturday night Pires would watch him play. At the age of 15, Pires left school and began his dream of a career in football with a two-year sports degree course in Reims. At the insistence of his mother, Pires continued with Reims and was called up four years later. Pires is a graduate of the FC Metz youth academy. During his six seasons there, he scored 43 goals in 162 matches, won the Coupe de la Ligue, prompting a £5 million move to Olympique de Marseille in 1998. At Marseille, Pires had a mixed two-year stay, his first season saw Marseille miss the French league title by a point and they lost the 1999 UEFA Cup Final to Parma.
His second season saw him suffer a spate of on- and off-field problems, which led him to boycott the club at the season's end. Pires was signed by Arsenal for £6 million in 2000, after stiff competition from Real Madrid and Juventus, replacing Marc Overmars, who had left for Barcelona for a record £25 million. Pires' form was indifferent, some people criticised him after his comments that the English game was too physical. However, he began to regain the form he had shown at Metz, scoring a superb solo goal against Lazio in the 2000–01 Champions League, the winner against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-finals. However, Arsenal went on to lose the Cup final to Liverpool 2–1. By 2001–02, Pires had got to grips with the English game and had one of his best seasons. Pires scored superb goals against Aston Villa. Against Aston Villa, Pires chased after a long ball by Freddie Ljungberg, lobbed the ball over the pursuing George Boateng, finished off the move with a delightful lob over Peter Schmeichel.
He led the Premier League assist charts and was voted both FWA Footballer of the Year and Arsenal's player of the season, as Arsenal won the league title. This was despite not playing the last two months of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in a FA Cup match against Newcastle United; this ruled him out of playing in the 2002 World Cup with France. After a lengthy layoff, Pires made his comeback in November 2002 as a substitute against AJ Auxerre in the UEFA Champions League. Although Pires found it tough, he returned to form, scoring 14 Premiership goals in 20 starts that season, including a hat-trick against Southampton on the penultimate day of the season. Pires was voted the Premier League Player of the Month for February 2003. Pires capped off his season by scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final against Southampton, he went on to be a crucial part of Arsenal's quest for the Premier League title in the 2003–04 season, which they achieved, remaining unbeaten and becoming the first English top flight club to do so in 115 years.
Pires and his Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry were instrumental in that season, scoring a combined 57 goals in all competitions. Pires made a sluggish start to the campaign, but a wonder-goal against Liverpool at Anfield kick-started his season. Pires showed football fans his sublime technique and finishing, most notably with his goals against Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, Leeds United, he surprised a lot of people with a world class tackle on Claude Makelele and, following that, a run into the penalty box which dragged William Gallas and John Terry away, thus making space for Patrick Vieira to have a one-on-one with the Chelsea goalkeeper and subsequently scoring. Arsenal won; that day of Premier League action proved decisive, as Manchester United's failure to beat Leeds United during the same day resulted in Arsenal getting a huge lead in the title race. Arsenal never lost 1st place in the table for the rest of the season. In the UEFA Champions League quarter-final's 1st leg match against Chelsea, Pires managed to beat John Terry to a header, which resulted in the equaliser for Arsenal, after Eiður Guðjohnsen had given Chelsea the lead.
However, Arsenal were eliminated after they lost 1–2 in the return leg, courtesy of an 87th minute Wayne Bridge goal. Pires showed his playmaking skills in a goal against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, in which Pires was the architect in building up the goal, capped off the move with a goal to score Arsena
Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry is a French professional footballer who plays for German club Bayern Munich. He is a former France national team player, he plays as a winger, preferably on the left side although being right-footed, is known for pace, energy and precise passing. Ribéry is described as a player, fast, tricky and an excellent dribbler, who has great control with the ball at his feet. Since joining Bayern, he has been recognised on the world stage as one of the best French players of his generation; the previous talisman of the French national team, Zinedine Zidane, has called Ribéry the "jewel of French football". Ribéry's career began in 1989 as a youth player for local hometown club Conti Boulogne, he left the club after seven years to join professional outfit Lille, but departed the club after three years after having difficulties adjusting. In 1999, Ribéry joined US Boulogne. After spending two more years in the amateur divisions with two clubs, in 2004, Ribéry earned a move to Ligue 1 club FC Metz.
After six months with the club, Ribéry moved to Turkey in January 2005 to join Galatasaray, where he won the Turkish Cup. After six months at Galatasaray, he departed the club in controversial fashion in order to return to France to join Marseille. Ribéry spent two seasons at the club, helping the Marseillais reach the final of the Coupe de France in back-to-back seasons. In 2007, Ribéry joined German club Bayern Munich for a club-record fee of €25 million. With Bayern, he has won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokal, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup, which include four doubles and one treble, his form for Bayern in the club's 2012–13 treble winning season saw him nominated alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the three-man shortlist for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or. Between 2006 and 2014, Ribéry represented the France national football team 81 times. Ribéry has represented his nation at two FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships, he made his international debut in May 2006 against Mexico.
At the 2006 World Cup, Ribéry scored his first international goal against Spain and played in the final match against Italy. Individually, Ribéry is a three-time winner of the French Player of the Year award and has won the German Footballer of the Year becoming the first player to hold both honours, he has been named to the UEFA Team of the Year and declared the Young Player of the Year in France. In 2013, Ribéry won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. In 2013, he was ranked fourth in The Guardian's list of the best players in the world. Ribéry was born on 7 April 1983 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais and raised in a low-income neighbourhood on the fringes of the city; when he was two years old, he and his family were involved in a car accident in his hometown, colliding with a lorry. Ribéry suffered serious facial injuries that resulted in more than one hundred stitches and which left two long scars down the right side of his face, another across his brows. Prior to joining Stade Brestois in 2003, he worked as a construction worker with his father, which Ribéry referred to as a "learning experience".
Ribéry began his football career at age six playing in the youth section of amateur club FC Conti de Boulogne-sur-Mer. After a seven-year stay, in 1996, he joined professional outfit Lille, who were playing in the second division. While at Lille, Ribéry excelled athletically, but developed academic and behavioural problems, which led to Lille releasing him. In 2012, during a press conference ahead of Bayern Munich's Champions League tie against his former club Lille, Ribéry explained that he was released from the Lille academy after suffering a broken elbow and that Lille officials had wanted to drop him from the academy for being "too small". After leaving Lille, Ribéry returned to his hometown joining the biggest club in the city, US Boulogne. After spending a year in the reserves, he was promoted to the senior team. Ribéry only made four appearances in his debut season as Boulogne, who were playing in the CFA, the fourth division of French football, earned promotion to third-tier Championnat National.
In his second season with the club, Ribéry appeared. Although Boulogne finished 17th, which meant a return to the fourth division, Ribéry's solid performances earned him a move to fellow National club Olympique Alès. In his only season at the club, Ribéry made 18 appearances scoring only one goal. Following the season, despite finishing safe, Alès were relegated to the Division d'Honneur, the sixth division of French football, by the DNCG after the club declared bankruptcy; the resulting news led to Ribéry signing with another Championnat National club. At Brest, Ribéry established himself as a premier player in the league appearing in 35 league matches scoring three goals. Ribéry's performance and the team as a whole led to the club finishing second in the league, thus earning promotion to Ligue 2. Despite his success with Brest, Ribéry sought to play in Ligue 1, the top division of French football, his dream came to fruition when Metz's manager Jean Fernandez took a liking to him and recruited him on a free transfer.
Ribéry only spent half a season at Metz, but impressed earning the UNFP Player of the Month in August 2004. He scored his only league goal for Metz on 6 November in the team's 1–1 draw with Toulouse, his stellar play on the right side of midfield led to Metz supporters comparing him to Robert Pires, a former Metz player. After negotiations on an extension ended in a stalemate, in January 2005, Ribéry relocated to Turkey. There he joined Galatasaray on an initial loan deal.
2018 FIFA World Cup
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was the 21st FIFA World Cup, an international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA once every four years. It took place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, it was the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe, the 11th time that it had been held in Europe. At an estimated cost of over $14.2 billion, it was the most expensive World Cup. It was the first World Cup to use the video assistant referee system; the finals involved 32 teams, of which 31 came through qualifying competitions, while the host nation qualified automatically. Of the 32 teams, 20 had appeared in the previous tournament in 2014, while both Iceland and Panama made their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches were played in 12 venues across 11 cities. Germany were eliminated in the group stage; the final took place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium between France and Croatia. France won the match 4–2 to claim their second World Cup title, marking the fourth consecutive title won by a European team.
The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments began in January 2009, national associations had until 2 February 2009 to register their interest. Nine countries placed bids for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico withdrew from proceedings, Indonesia's bid was rejected by FIFA in February 2010 after the Indonesian government failed to submit a letter to support the bid. During the bidding process, the three remaining non-UEFA nations withdrew from the 2018 bids, the UEFA nations were thus ruled out of the 2022 bid; as such, there were four bids for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, two of which were joint bids: England, Netherlands/Belgium, Portugal/Spain. The 22-member FIFA Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments. Russia won the right to be the 2018 host in the second round of voting; the Portugal/Spain bid came second, that from Belgium/Netherlands third. England, bidding to host its second tournament, was eliminated in the first round.
The voting results were as follows: The English Football Association and others raised concerns of bribery on the part of the Russian team and corruption from FIFA members. They claimed that four members of the executive committee had requested bribes to vote for England, Sepp Blatter had said that it had been arranged before the vote that Russia would win; the 2014 Garcia Report, an internal investigation led by Michael J. Garcia, was withheld from public release by Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA's head of adjudication on ethical matters. Eckert instead released a shorter revised summary, his reluctance to publish the full report caused Garcia to resign in protest; because of the controversy, the FA refused to accept Eckert's absolving of Russia from blame, with Greg Dyke calling for a re-examination of the affair and David Bernstein calling for a boycott of the World Cup. For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, all eligible nations – the 209 FIFA member associations minus automatically qualified hosts Russia – applied to enter the qualifying process.
Zimbabwe and Indonesia were disqualified before playing their first matches, while Gibraltar and Kosovo, who joined FIFA on 13 May 2016 after the qualifying draw but before European qualifying had begun entered the competition. Places in the tournament were allocated to continental confederations, with the allocation unchanged from the 2014 World Cup; the first qualification game, between Timor-Leste and Mongolia, began in Dili on 12 March 2015 as part of the AFC's qualification, the main qualifying draw took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg, on 25 July 2015. Of the 32 nations qualified to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 20 countries competed at the previous tournament in 2014. Both Iceland and Panama qualified for the first time, with the former becoming the smallest country in terms of population to reach the World Cup. Other teams returning after absences of at least three tournaments include: Egypt, returning to the finals after their last appearance in 1990.
It is the first time four Arab nations have qualified for the World Cup. Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy, three-time runners-up and third placed in 2014 the Netherlands, four reigning continental champions: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon, two-time Copa América champions and 2017 Confederations Cup runners-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners New Zealand, 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions United States; the other notable qualifying streaks broken were for Ghana and Ivory Coast, who had both made the previous three tournaments. Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate positions in the FIFA World Rankings at the time of the tournament; the draw was held on 1 December 2017 at 18:00 MSK at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. The 32 teams were drawn by selecting one team from each of the 4 ranked pots. For the draw, the teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of October 2017. Pot 1 contained the hosts Russia and the best seven teams, pot 2 contained the next best eight teams, so on for pots 3 and 4.
This was different from previous
Zinedine Yazid Zidane, nicknamed "Zizou", is a French former professional football player and current manager of Real Madrid. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker, renowned for his elegance, ball control and technique, played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux and Real Madrid. At club level, Zidane won two Serie A league titles with Juventus, before he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years. In Spain, Zidane won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League, with his left-foot volleyed winner in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition's history. Zidane won an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup with both teams. Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final and being named to the All-Star Team, while winning UEFA Euro 2000, being named Player of the Tournament.
The World Cup triumph made him a national hero in France, he received the Légion d'honneur in 1998. He received the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest, he retired as the fourth-most capped player in France history. Zidane received many individual accolades as a player, including being named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or, he was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001, La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world's greatest living players compiled by Pelé, in the same year was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d'Or, was the ambassador for Qatar's successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament.
After retiring as a player, Zidane transitioned into coaching, began as his head coaching career at Real Madrid Castilla. He remained in the position for two years before taking the helm of the first team in January 2016. In his two and a half seasons with Madrid, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League an unprecedented three times consecutively, a La Liga title, a Supercopa de España, the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each, his success saw him named Best FIFA Men's Coach in 2017, but he resigned in May 2018. Following poor results by Real Madrid in the subsequent months, Zidane returned to the club as manager in March 2019. Zinedine Yazid Zidane was born on 23 June 1972 in Marseille, in Southern France, he is the youngest of five siblings. Zidane is of Algerian Kabyle descent, his parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemoune in the Berber-speaking region of Kabylie in northern Algeria in 1953 before the start of the Algerian War. The family, which had settled in the city's tough northern districts of Barbès and Saint-Denis, found little work in the region, in the mid-1960s moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane in the 16th arrondissement of Marseille.
I have an affinity with the Arabic world. I have it in my blood, via my parents. I’m proud of being French, but very proud of having these roots and this diversity, his father worked as a warehouseman and nightwatchman at a department store on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family lived a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighbourhood, notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates. Zidane credits his father as the "guiding light" in his career, it was in Castellane where Zidane had his earliest introduction in football, joining in at the age of five in football games that the neighbourhood's children played on the Place Tartane, an 80-by-12-yard plaza that served as the main square of the housing complex. In July 2011, Zidane named former Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up. At the age of ten, Zidane got his first player's licence after joining the junior team of a local club from Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri.
After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes-les-Vallons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club's Director to get Zidane. Zidane stayed with Septèmes until the age of 14, at which time he was selected to attend a three-day training camp at the CREPS in Aix-en-Provence, one of several such footballing institutes run by the French Football Federation, it was here that Zidane was spotted by AS Cannes scout and former player Jean Varraud, who recommended him to the training centre director of the club. As a 14 year old watching the 1986 World Cup, the performance of Diego Maradona left an indelible mark on him, with Zidane stating Maradona "was on another level". Zidane went to AS Cannes for a six-week stay, but ended up remaining at the club for four years to play at the professional level. Having left his family to join Cannes, he was invited by Cannes Director Jean-Claude Elineau to leave the dormitory he shared with 20 other trainees and to come and stay with him and his family.
Zidane said that while living with the Elineaus he found equilibrium. It was at Cannes where Zidane's first coaches noticed that he was raw and sensitive, prone to attack spectators who insulted his race or family, his first coach, Jean Varraud, encouraged him to channel his anger and focus on his own ga