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Star player:
Franck Ribery

Previous appearances:
1930 (first round), 1934 (first round), 1938 (quarter-finals), 1954 (first round), 1958 (third place), 1966 (first round), 1978 (first round), 1982 (fourth place), 1986 (third place), 1998 (winners), 2002 (first round), 2006 (finalists)

How they qualified
Austria (a)          1-3
Serbia (h)           2-1
Romania (a)        2-2
Lithuania (a)        1-0
Lithuania (h)        1-0
Faroe Islands (a)  1-0
Romania (h)         1-1
Serbia (a)            1-1
Faroe Islands (h)   5-0
Austria (h)           3-1 

Struggled through qualifying and secured their place thanks to Thierry Henry's handball in the play-off victory against the Republic of Ireland. Coach Domenech continues to make mystifying tactical decisions and it remains to be seen whether the undoubted strength of France's squad is enough to overcome that handicap. On the face of it. the last 16 might be their limit this time.

Strange but true
Both Thierry Henry and William Gallas, who respectively had a hand and head in the killer goal against Ireland, were born in Paris on August 17, 1977. They were later in the same class at the famous French football academy Clairefontaine.

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