Les Bleus were kings of the world four years ago, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final in Russia to secure their second crown. With a young team full of quality and potential, France will have hoped to use that as a springboard for more success.
Unfortunately, they could not do a World Cup-European Championship double, knocked out of Euro 2020 at the round of 16 by Switzerland on penalties, having been 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go.
France did bounce back to win the Uefa Nations League, beating Spain in the final, becoming the first European national team to win all possible senior FIFA and confederations competitions.
As defending champions, France are of course favoured quite highly to win the World Cup this winter with only Brazil having shorter odds at the time of writing. But France will be wary of this as they were favourites/second favourites with most bookmakers to win Euro 2020 last summer.
France were one of five European teams to secure their spot at the World Cup after going unbeaten in their qualifying group, winning five and drawing three of their eight matches. Only Ukraine (twice) and Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to take points off France in qualifying, with two draws coming as part of a five-game winless streak that included three matches at Euro 2020. But they bounced back from that to win their final three qualification games, as well as the Nations League, and they are now unbeaten in 19 matches.
France’s potential path to 2022 World Cup final
The World Cup holders are currently third in the FIFA world rankings and unsurprisingly put in Pot 1 for the draw.
Les Bleus were placed in Group D alongside Denmark, Tunisia and the winner of the Asia-South America inter-confederation play-off that will pit Peru against one of UAE and Australia.
The winner of that game will face France in their Group D opener, before Didier Deschamps’ side take on Denmark and then Tunisia. France’s games will be played in Al Wakrah, Doha and Al Rayyan.
France 2022 World Cup group stage fixtures
22 November 2022: Peru/UAE/Australia vs France (7pm UK time)
26 November 2022: France vs Denmark (4pm UK time)
30 November 2022: Tunisia vs France (3pm UK time)
If France win Group D
If France were to win Group D, they would drop into the lower half of the bracket and this would be their route through to the final.
Last 16: The runners-up of Group C, which consists of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland, in Doha on 4th December.
Quarter-finals: The winner of Match 51 , which is played between the winner of Group B (England, USA, Iran and Scotland/Wales/Ukraine) and the Group A runners-up (Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands and Ecuador)
Semi-finals: The winner of Match 60 which will include one of the Group F or Group H winners, or runners-up from Group E or G. Involved in these groups are the likes of Spain, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Cameroon, Portugal and Uruguay.
If France qualify from Group D
If France finish second in Group D, they will go to the other side of the bracket.
Last 16: The winners of Group C in Al Rayyan on 3rd December.
Quarter-finals: The winner of Match 49, played between Group A winners and Group B runners-up.
Semi-finals: The winner of Match 58, which could include the Group E or G winners, or runners-up from Group F or H as listed above.
France were one of the countries at the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and they did qualify the all of the first six, though they withdrew in 1950. Since then, France have only failed to qualify for five World Cups, last missing out in 1994.
But they bounced back from the sadness of that absence by winning World Cup 98 in France, beating Brazil in the final – their first appearance in the showpiece. They would return in 2006 but lost on penalties to Italy, a game famous for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt. And, of course, France got their second taste of World Cup glory in 2018, beating Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Croatia in the knockout stages.
France’s previous World Cup finishes
Round of 16
France Golden Boot odds
France look set to be blessed with a number of top goalscorers at the World Cup in Qatar including Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud, who is chasing Thierry Henry as Les Bleus all-time top scorer. But it will all be about Kylian Mbappe, fancied at 8/1 to win the Golden Boot.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has 24 goals in 53 games for France and was a key player in helping them win the World Cup. At the age of just 19, Mbappe scored four goals including one in the World Cup final – becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.