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FRANCE

World Cup Homepage | View Group Tables | Week 1 | Week 2

Goalkeepers

16-Fabien Barthez (Manchester United)
Born: 28.6.71

Still France's first choice despite some dodgy displays for United this season, the result of his keenness to race off his line and get involved in play outside the box. Conceded only two goals as France won the World Cup in 1998 and also helped them to Euro 2000 victory.

1-Ulrich Rame (Girondins Bordeaux)
Born: 19.9.72

Helped Bordeaux win the French league in 1999. France's third choice keeper at Euro 2000, he played three matches in the 2001 Confederations Cup including the final against Japan, which France won 1-0. Rarely ventures outside box, is consistent on his line and on high balls.

23-Gregory Coupet(Olympique Lyon)
Born: 31.12.72

Reliable and experienced keeper who played in the Champions League for the second consecutive year. Earned first cap against Australia in last year's Confederations Cup but unlikely to become Barthez's successor in the future.

Defenders

3-Bixente Lizarazu (Bayern Munich)
Born: 9.12.69

Like the rest of the defence, Lizarazu is ageing and these finals could be his last great international event. But the Basque is an undisputed first choice both with club and country and his pace belies his years. His swift breaks down the wing can unlock opponents' defence.

15-Lilian Thuram (Juventus)
Born: 1.1.72

Cool-tempered and reliable, widely regarded as one of the best defenders in Italy. A tireless runner, Thuram can also be very quick. Says he is keen to get attack more, having famously scored twice against Croatia to send France to the 1998 final.

2-Vincent Candela (AS Roma)
Born: 24.10.73

Began as a replacement for Lizarazu and has confirmed, game after game, that he is the perfect example of the modern defender. Helped Roma clinch the Italian title last year mainly as a midfielder. He also makes an excellent winger. A close friend of both Zinedine Zidane and Christophe Dugarry.

18-Frank Leboeuf (Olympique Marseille)
Born: 22.1.68

Former Chelsea sweeper is the veteran of the squad and, though he still has the same strong will, he is slower than four years ago when he marked Ronaldo in the final against Brazil. Seemed a natural replacement when Laurent Blanc retired from the national side after Euro 2000 but has since failed to nail down automatic first team place.

19-Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich)
Born: 18.3.77

A first team regular with Bayern, he is a good bet to replace Thuram on the right of defence when the Juventus player retires. Along with Lizarazu, he won the 2001 Champions League.

8-Marcel Desailly (Chelsea) Born: 7.9.68

Took over from close friend Didier Deschamps as captain after winning Euro 2000, his experience will be precious when France face tough matches. The finals are set to be his international swansong as he will be almost 36 for Euro 2004 in Portugal. Has had a series of injuries this season.

5-Philippe Christanval (Barcelona)
Born: 31.8.78

Shy Christanval is one of the few French players to have flourished in Spain. His performance in the 2-1 win over Romania in February showed he can read the game well and he makes very few mistakes. Still has a lot to learn, especially in bringing the ball forward, but is an option if Leboeuf is off-form.

13-Mikael Silvestre (Manchester United)
Born: 9.8.77

Versatile player, equally good on the wing as in central defence. Physically and mentally very strong, he can withstand pressure. Still has to be a little more rigorous about positioning which might lead coach Roger Lemerre to use him on the flank rather than as sweeper.

Midfielders

10-Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
Born: 23.6.72

The world's most expensive player and France's key player. Without him, France do not play as well and so far no one has proved capable of replacing him. Lemerre, who admires him more than any other player, will certainly use him from the start to secure two victories in the first two matches of the finals and rest him for the third if possible.

17-Emmanuel Petit (Chelsea)
Born: 22.9.70

France's most consistent player at the 1998 finals and the only one to play in all seven games, scoring their third goal against Brazil in the final. A tireless runner, he can help with the playmaking when Zidane is not there. His reading of the game is brilliant and his mental strength beyond question.

Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)
Born: 23.6.76

Since former captain Deschamps retired, Vieira has became the core of the French midfield. Physically outstanding, his self-discipline has improved after a rash of red cards last season. Considered one of the best in the world in his position, he has a good rapport with former Arsenal player Petit.

7-Claude Makelele (Real Madrid)
Born: 18.2.73

Has become a regular first choice at Real but failed to convince French coaches so far. Aime Jacquet left him out in 1998 and Lemerre has never given the impression of fully trusting him. A good technician, he is lightweight and finds it hard to survive when the game gets physically tough.

14-Alain Boghossian (Parma)
Born: 27.10.70

Back from another long injury layoff that put him out of Euro 2000. Reliable, physically strong, highly experienced and certainly very useful especially if France go all the way in the tournament, which will almost certainly be his last.

22-Johan Micoud (Parma)
Born: 24.7.73

Lemerre banked on him two years ago as Boghossian was injured but he had not picked him since. Inconsistent, he is capable of being brilliant or very poor.

Forwards

12-Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
Born: 17.8.77

Enjoying a brilliant season at Arsenal and topped the premier league scorers. Extremely fast, he is a permanent danger for any defence, especially when there is space to run with the ball. At Arsenal, he has also learnt to play more for the team.

20-David Trezeguet (Juventus)
Born: 15.10.77

Typical goalscorer who rarely misses the target when he is inside the box. Given Lemerre's reluctance to play him from the start, he is an ideal substitute. Came on to score the golden goal winner against Italy in the Euro 2000 final.

11-Sylvain Wiltord (Arsenal)
Born: 10.5.74

Though Lemerre and club boss Arsene Wenger prefer to use him as a 'super sub', Wiltord has proved at Arsenal he can score at any time. A fast winger, the former Bordeaux striker is an excellent dribbler and has real fire power in his left foot, netting the equaliser against Italy in the Euro 2000 final.

9-Djibril Cisse (AJ Auxerre)
Born: 12.8.81

A goaltaker for the under-21s, he has only had one chance to prove himself with the senior team so far.

21-Christophe Dugarry (Girondins Bordeaux)
Born: 24.3.72

The player France fans love to hate, his name cannot be mentioned in a French stadium without being booed. Strongly built, his role is mainly to wear out the defence physically during the first half and create more room for his team-mates during the second. Often injured, his chances will depend on his shape in the weeks before the finals.

6-Youri Djorkaeff (Bolton Wanderers)
Born: 9.3.68

France's highest goalscorer still playing but only just made it to the finals. Mid-season move from Kaiserslautern, where he was at odds with coach Andreas Brehme who left him on the bench, to Bolton has helped him bounce back. Lemerre keeps a benevolent eye on him, knowing he can still be a match winner