Fédération Française de Football (FFF)


Stade de France, Paris


Hugo Lloris


Didier Deschamps


Lilian Thuram (142 caps)


Thierry Henry (51 goals)


Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Griezmann


Les Bleus






Appearances: 15

Best Result: Champions (1998, 2018)


Appearances: 10

Best Result: Champions (1984, 2000)


The France national football team represents France in men’s international football and is controlled by the French Football Federation, also known as FFF.

The team’s colours are blue, white and red, and the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus (The Blues).

France plays their home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, 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, and mid/late 2010s, respectively, 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 two teams that have played in every World Cup cycle, the other being Brazil.

In 1958, the team, led by Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine, finished in third place at the FIFA World Cup. In 1984, France, led by Ballon d’Or winner Michel Platini, won UEFA Euro 1984.

However, France only began to reach its prime from the 1990s onward, with the establishment of INF Clairefontaine. 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 later, the team triumphed at UEFA Euro 2000. France won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003 and reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, in which it lost 5–3 on penalties to Italy.

The team also 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 to win the three most important men’s titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament after victory in the Confederations Cup in 2001. The now-defunct Confederations Cup started in 1992.

Prior to this, Uruguay and Italy had won both the Olympic tournament and the World Cup in the 1920s and 1930s. England and Germany had also won both tournaments; albeit England competes as Great Britain in the Olympics and East Germany won the Olympic tournament in 1976.

Since 2001, Argentina (after the 2004 Olympics) and Brazil (after the 2016 Olympics) are the other two national teams that have won these three titles.

They, along with Germany, Italy and Uruguay, have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and UEFA European Championship for France, Germany and Italy).

Football in France

Football is the most popular sport in France, followed by rugby.

The French Football Federation (FFF, Fédération Française de Football) is the national governing body and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of association football in the country, both professional and amateur.

The federation organizes the Coupe de France and is responsible for appointing the management of the men’s, women’s and youth national football teams in France. The federation gives the responsibility of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 to the Ligue de Football Professionnel who oversee, organize, and manage the country’s top two leagues.

The LFP is also responsible for organizing the Coupe de la Ligue, the country’s league cup competition.

The French Football Federation also supervises the overseas departments and territories leagues and hosts football club AS Monaco, a club based in the independent sovereign state of Monaco.

The first football club was introduced to France in 1863, as described in a newspaper article by The Scotsman, which stated “A number of English gentlemen living in Paris have lately organised a football club… The football contests take place in the Bois de Boulogne, by permission of the authorities and surprise the French amazingly.”

Modern football was introduced nine years later in 1872 by English sailors playing in Le Havre in 1872.

League system

Ligue de Football Professionnel

Ligue 1 logo

The top two divisions of French football, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, are governed by the Ligue de Football Professionnel.

The league is responsible for overseeing, organizing, and managing the top two leagues and is also responsible for the 46 professional football clubs that contest football in France (20 in Ligue 1, 20 in Ligue 2, and 6 in the Championnat National).

Tier 1 – LIGUE 1

Ligue 1 is the French professional league for football clubs. It is the country’s primary football competition and serves as the top division of the French football league system.

Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Ligue 2. Ligue 1 is one of the top national leagues, currently ranked fifth in Europe behind the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and the Italian Serie A.

Ligue 1 was inaugurated on 11 September 1932 under the name National before switching to Division 1 after a year of existence. The name lasted until 2002 before switching to its current name.

Tier 2 – LIGUE 2

Ligue 2 is the second division of French football. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Championnat National.

The league was created in 1934, a year after Ligue 1 and consisted of 23 clubs that were divided into two groups, Nord and Sud.

Tier 3 – Championnat National

The Championnat National is the third division of French football.

Though the league has several clubs that are members of the Ligue de Football Professionnel, it is not governed by the organization primarily because of the LFP’s refusal to divide its profits into smaller shares, so they can collaborate with the many amateur clubs in the league to help them become professional.

The French Football Federation moderates the league, which was founded in 1993 under the name National 1.

Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Championnat de France amateur.

Tier 4 – Championnat National 2

The Championnat National 2 is the fourth division of French football and normally features 72 football clubs.

Most clubs that participate in the league are amateur clubs, but a small number of clubs are semi-professional. The CFA consists of 72 clubs spread into 4 parallel groups of 18.

It is open to the best reserve teams in France and amateur clubs in France, although only the amateur clubs are eligible for promotion to the Championnat National.

The highest-placed amateur team in each pool are promoted, replaced by the 4 lowest-placed in the Championnat National.

Tier 5 – Championnat National 3

The Championnat National 3 is the 5th division in French football and normally consists of 168 teams in 12 groups of 14 organised to align with the regional leagues.

The twelve teams (both amateur and reserves of professional teams in higher divisions) that top their league are promoted to Championnat National 2.

Relegation from Championnat National 3 is defined by both position in the group and the region the club belongs to.

Normally, one club is relegated to each regional league that feeds that group.

Tier 6 – Amateur football

Amateur football in France is organised and managed by the Ligue du Football Amateur.

The LFA, under the watch of the French Football Federation, is responsible for administering and federating the actions of the regional and district leagues beginning with the Division d’Honneur all the way down to the lower division.


Cup competitions

Coupe de France

The Coupe de France, also known as the Coupe Charles Simon is the annual cup competition in Franch football for the nation’s best clubs. It is a 14-round knockout tournament. The first 6 rounds feature regional clubs. In fact, rounds vary from 4 to 8 depending on the regions with each region sending a set number of teams to the 7th round of the competition. It is the 7th round onwards only that the professional clubs are added to the pot of the draws for the knockout.

The winner of the Coupe de France is rewarded with qualification into the UEFA Europa League. If the winner of the cup has already secured a spot in the Champions League then the spot is awarded to the next team that is highest ranked in Ligue 1.

Trophée des Champions

This match is held between the Ligue 1 champions and the Coupe de France winner. If the winner happens to be the same club then the team that finished 2nd in Ligue 1 gets to contest for this trophy.

Regional amateur leagues of France organise their own cup competitions that are run by the French Football Federation.