Coach since July 2004
It’s fair to say that the French coach – who has been at the helm since July of 2004 – isn’t much appreciated in his home country. An unconvincing qualification campaign and an ability to be particularly difficult with the media mean that the former international gets his fair share of stick in France. But Domenech doesn’t care much what other people think – and with good reason. He’s led the team to the 2006 World Cup Final and will become the longest-serving French manager of all time during this summer’s tournament. Crucially, he’s supported by his players and has the ability at his disposal to do the business again in South Africa.
0 (0 gls)
Once the darling of Marseilles, Carrasso was frozen out in favour of Steve Mandanda in 2007 and was forced to move to Toulouse for the start of the 08-09 season. His unflappable nature and fine positional sense helped his new club finish their campaign with the meanest defence in the French top flight and Carrasso was quickly rewarded with a move to Champions Bordeaux.
9 (0 gls)
Despite being the first ever French goalkeeper to be sent off (against Serbia during the World Cup qualifying campaign) Lloris has established himself as Number One choice ahead of Steve Mandanda thanks to his maturity between the sticks and an ability to make spectacular reflex saves. And France have lost just once – against Spain – with Lloris in goal.
12 (0 gls)
The Congo-born keeper once tried out for Aston Villa before joining Marseilles from Le Havre in 2007. Mandanda performed brilliantly and was rewarded with his first international cap against Ecuador in May of 2008, but has since been overtaken by Hugo Lloris. He also has three brothers who are all trying to carve out professional careers as goalkeepers.
45 (0 gls)
After a season blighted by injury French Coach Raymond Domenech is hoping Abidal will be properly fit for duty in South Africa, particularly because the Barcelona man gives the coach viable options at both left back and in central defence. Abidal’s big game know-how will also be invaluable in steadying the French defence.
3 (0 gls)
The Arsenal defender’s place in the French 23 is by no means assured, but his big game know-how gained in seven years at Arsenal could weigh in his favour. His brain is as quick as his feet and his seemingly endless energy could be a big asset in pressure games.
27 (0 gls)
An attack-minded left back whose defensive work and physical abilities have improved massively since moving from Monaco to Manchester United in 2006. Born in Senegal and the son of a Guinean diplomat, Evra arrived in France aged four, but started his professional career in Italy and is now regarded as one of the world’s best left-sided defenders.
78 (4 gls)
The rock of the French defence, 32 year old Gallas’ season has been massively disrupted by injury. Les Bleus will be desperate for the centre half to be 100% fit in South Africa as their back four would be considerably weakened by the absence of the 78 times capped Arsenal man.
Underrated defender selected over team-mate Michael Ciani for his superior skills for the French World Cup Team
5 (0 gls)
After spending six years with Rennes, he made a move to the Spanish side Valencia CF. After half a season there, Réveillère made the move back to France, signing withLyon and going on to win 5 straight Ligue 1 titles.
17 (0 gls)
After beginning his football career as an attacker Sagna has distinguished himself as a physical right back with a truly competitive nature, plus an engine that allows him to get up and down the flanks seemingly without tiring. After joining Arsenal from Auxerre in 2007 Sagna’s all-round game has improved year on year.
18 (0 gls)
A solid if unspectacular central defender who has failed to set the international world alight, while still remaining a reliable asset in the French squad. The one-time Champions League finalist with Monaco back in 2004 has done well since a 2008 move to Spain and won’t let anyone down if called upon in South Africa.
4 (0 gls)
The rangy Arsenal midfielder could well be a successor to Patrick Vieira. Possibly not yet, though. Although, he was included at the expense of the French legend.
24 (0 gls)
Bordeaux captain Diarra earned contracts at Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the early stages of his career, but it’s only since arriving on the west coast of France in 2007 that his qualities as a hard-working defensive midfield dynamo have been fully recognised. South Africa could yet give him the chance to shine on the world stage.
17 (1 gl)
France’s latest darling will want to use the stage in South Africa to establish himself as one of the game’s best playmakers. The son of Lorient boss Christian Gourcuff, Yoann’s ability to see the killer pass is what marks him out as a special talent. He’s also a free kick specialist, though he has yet to hit his straps as an international goalscorer.
51 (3 gls)
The 30 year old has just wrapped up his best ever season with club side Chelsea, where his ability to ghost into goalscoring positions has seen him become a real threat down the left flank. His relationship with French Coach Raymond Domenech hasn’t always been easy, but Malouda could still be a key player for Les Bleus in South Africa.
42 (7 gls)
The jewel in the French crown, Ribéry is the national team’s established creative dynamo. A Catholic who converted to Islam, Ribéry has a remarkable engine, two quick feet and the happy knack of being able to produce decisive moments in matches. His tendency to pick up injuries is a worry, but a fully-fit Ribéry is undoubtedly world-class.
31 (0 gls)
Don’t be fooled by Toulalan’s prematurely graying hair, this 26-year-old defensive midfielder has the insatiable appetite for work of a young tyro. He’s no goalscorer – he’s hit the target just twice in nearly 300 French league appearances – but Toulalan is a real pro’s pro, a player who relishes doing the dirty work that often goes unnoticed on the terraces.
1 (1 gls)
Surprise call-up by Domenech. Due to his small stature, he was given the nickname Le Petit vélo, which translates to “the small bike”. This is a play on Valbuena’s diminutive size and the fact that the home of his club, Marseille, is called the Stade Vélodrome.
64 (14 gls)
France’s most experienced striker, these days Anelka cuts a very different figure to ‘Le Sulk’, the brooding talent who once said he’d never again play for the national side after fallings out with various managers. After missing out on selection for the 2006 World Cup the Chelsea man will be determined to make up for lost time in 2010.
39 (9 gls)
A proven international who took the final striking berth ahead of Karim Benzema. He is noted particularly for his speed and acceleration. Since 2005, he has held the title of Lord of the Manor of Frodsham.
10 (4 gls)
The big and bustling Gignac has already scored four times in just 10 international appearances, though it must be said that three of his goals came against the Faroe Islands in two World Cup qualifying games. Nonetheless the Toulouse striker is technically adept and offers an interesting physical presence within the French set-up.
43 (10 gls)
Despite a healthy return of 10 goals in 43 international appearances Govou still remains an enigmatic figure, sometimes appearing bafflingly disinterested in the intensity of international competition. His work on the right hand flank can be impressive when the mood takes him, however, and his natural ability can still turn any game.
118 (51 gls)
France’s record goalscorer – including the controversial ‘handball’ against Ireland that secured France’s passage to South Africa – hasn’t had the best of seasons at club side Barcelona, which has opened the debate as to whether ‘Titi’ will be a first choice in the Finals. But either starting or arriving off the bench Henry remains a huge goalscoring threat.