France

Preview

The French were looking to participate in their fourth successive World Cup, but no doubt did manager Michel have plenty of work ahead of him if he were to build a team strong enough to compete. 

France’ decline following the 1986 tournament had happened rapidly. They had lost the backbone of the side which had done so well earlier in the decade. In the qualification for the 1988 European Championships, France had failed miserably, finishing well beaten by both the Soviet Union and East Germany. A single win from eight matches, with an abysmal four goals scored, had been their undoing. Manager Michel had some rebuilding to do, but time was not on his side. France came into the 1990 qualification as outsiders, despite the fact that they were first seeds. Read more…    

World Cup appearances: 1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986

Manager: Henri Michel

Results

Qualifier 1
28.09.1988
Parc des Princes, Paris

France
Papin, pen. (85′)

1–0
(Report)

Norway

The French get their win courtesy of a late Papin penalty. They had faced strong resistance from a defensive opponent, which had their minds set on defending their way to a scoreless draw. France had improved after the break, when they created a few openings, and in particular wide forward Xuereb had impressed. They’d gone 4-2-4 late on with the introduction of Paille, something which ultimately paid off: He won a header in the Norwegian area to set Bravo up for a challenge against Giske to win the penalty. Deserved win, although the performance was hardly vintage.

Line-up (4-3-3): Bats – Sonor, Boli (Kastendeuch 64), Casoni, Amoros (c) – Dib, Passi (Paille 77), Sauzée – Bravo, Papin, Xuereb.

Qualifier 2
22.10.1988
Makáreio Stádio, Nicosia

Cyprus
Pittas, pen. (77′)

1–1
(Report)

France
Xuereb (44′)

Having defeated Norway, France were looking to get off to a sound, albeit expected, start to their World Cup qualification. Michel had picked the same eleven as last time out, although he’d opted for a somewhat more restricted tactical approach. Bravo had moved back into a right-sided midfield position, rendering this a 4-4-2 as opposed to the 4-3-3 last time around. Disappointing throughout, France were left stunned as they conceded a late penalty to their plucky hosts, who until then had not been able to test Bats. Xuereb’s headed opener just before the break would still only mean a single point, and the French players trotted off the pitch in shame upon the full-time whistle.

Line-up (4-4-2): Bats – Sonor, Boli, Casoni, Amoros (c) – Bravo, Sauzée, Dib, Passi (Vercruysse 71) – Papin, Xuereb (Paille 80).

Int. B friendly
16.11.1988
Stade Abbe-Deschamps, Auxerre

France B
Micciche

1–0

Yugoslavia

The French B team is reintroduced under Roger Lemerre after more than six years since their last friendly. Some experienced names here, but also newcomers in Rousset, Di Meco, Laurey and Blanc in the XI.

Line-up (4-4-2): Rousset – Ayache (Silvestre h-t), Sonor, Casoni, Di Meco – Passi (Guérin 74), Laurey, Blanc, Vercruysse (Micciche h-t) – Xuereb, Touré.

Qualifier 3
19.11.1988
Stadion JNA, Belgrade

Yugoslavia
Spasić (12′)
Sušić (76′)
Stojković (82′)

3–2
(Report)

France
Perez (3′)
Sauzée (68′)

Michel Platini is new head coach for France after Henri Michel, who is sacked in the wake of the draw against Cyprus. Platini lures back Tigana from international retirement, and opts for a 4-3-3 spearheaded by Paille. It is an improved display by the French, who twice leads before conceding two late goals to lose the game. It feels like more points wasted in their campaign for Italia’90, but positives taken from the performance, not least attacking-wise.

Line-up (4-3-3): Bats – Boli, Kastendeuch, Roche, Amoros (c) – Sauzée, Tigana, Dib – Ferreri (Papin 78), Paille, Perez (Bravo 69).

Int. friendly
07.02.1989

Rep. of Ireland

0–0
(Report)

France

Line-up (5-3-2): Bats – Kastendeuch, Sonor, Battiston, Silvestre (Roche 74), Amoros (c) – Blanc (Vercruysse 68), Sauzée, Durand – Paille (Touré h-t), Papin.

Unoff. friendly
14.02.1989
Highbury, London

Arsenal
Hayes (61′)
Smith (74′)

2–0
(Report)

France

France continue their preparations against Scotland in March with an unofficial friendly against Arsenal. The eventual English league champions prove too strong for Platini’s side, who succumb to two goals in the 2nd half (Hayes and Smith). The direct and aggressive style of George Graham’s side will have been a good foretaste of what les Bleus could expect one month later in Glasgow.

Line-up: Bats – Prunier, Bonalair, Silvestre, Kastendeuch, Sauzée, Durand (Vercruysse), Blanc, Paille (Dib), Papin, Perez (Bravo). Unused subs: Martini, Le Roux.

Qualifier 4
08.03.1989
Hampden Park, Glasgow

Scotland
Johnston (29′, 53′)

2–0
(Report)

France

Mo Johnston scores twice for Scotland, and the French defence is at times ran ragged by the Scottish forwards. But France are not without their chances, and they are able to dominate play in the midfield area. The trio Blanc, Laurey and Durand is inexperienced at this level, but makes their numerous advantage count. Leighton enjoys one of his best performances in the qualification, however, and denies the French on several occasions. 

Line-up (5-3-2): Bats – Sauzée, Silvestre, Battiston, Sonor, Amoros (c) – Blanc, Laurey, Durand (Paille 59) – Xuereb (Perez 73), Papin.

Qualifier 5
29.04.1989
Parc des Princes, Paris

France

0–0
(Report)

Yugoslavia

France finally record their first point under Platini, but the performance is well below expectations. France were struggling in the 1st half as they failed to provide much support for their three forwards, with their midfield effectively canceled out by a compact Yugoslavian side. Direct passes to Paille fail, but intelligent movement from Perez and Xuereb still caused some openings. The change to 4-4-2 in the 2nd half was catastrophic, and France only managed to exert some pressure late on after reverting to 4-3-3 and introducing Deschamps.

Line-up (4-3-3): Bats – Sonor, Boli; Battiston, Amoros (c) – Blanc, Durand (Cocard HT), Sauzée – Xuereb (Deschamps 77′), Paille, Perez.

Int. friendly
16.08.1989
Malmö Stadion, Malmö

Sweden
Thern (5′)
Lindqvist (63′)

2–4
(Report)

France
Cantona (57′, 85′)
Papin (61′, 82′)

Line-up (4-4-2): Bats – Amoros (c), Sauzée, Le Roux, Di Meco – Ferreri (Blanc 69), Pardo, Deschamps, Perez – Cantona, Papin.

Qualifier 6
05.09.1989
Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo

Norway
Bratseth (84′)

1–1
(Report)

France
Papin, pen. (40′)

Arriving on the back of that win in Sweden, France looked confident and composed during a sound first half display in which they were the better side. They’d get their breakthrough from Papin’s late penalty, and should have had a second thereafter when Ferreri had rounded the ‘keeper, only to see his shot booted away. Second half France looked to sit deep and counter, though they would fail in precision, and this ultimately cost them as they saw Bats fail to claim Berg’s corner for Bratseth to head home a late leveller. Some fine individual performances, and all in all it had been a decent French performance.

Line-up (4-4-2): Bats – Amoros (c), Sauzée, Le Roux (Silvestre 56), Di Meco – Ferreri (Blanc 76), Pardo, Deschamps, Perez – Cantona, Papin.

Qualifier 7
11.10.1989
Parc des Princes, Paris

France
Deschamps (26′)
Cantona (63′)
Durand (89′)

3–0
(Report)

Scotland

Despite being without a couple of key players in Amoros and Papin, a highly combative French select put their Scottish visitors to the sword. Interestingly, France allow the visitors plenty of possession, but catching Scotland on the break worked well. Durand had been brought in to reinforce midfield, and this laid the foundation for a solid defensive display. Di Meco’s sending off for two bookable offences did no real damage. France still with a (small) chance of qualifying. 

Line-up (4-3-3): Bats (c) – Silvestre, Sauzée, Le Roux (Casoni h-t), Di Meco – Pardo, Deschamps, Durand – Perez (Bravo 82), Cantona, Ferreri.

Qualifier 8
18.11.1989
Parc des Princes, Paris

France
Deschamps (25′)
Blanc (75′)

2–0
(Report)

Cyprus

Since Scotland had secured second spot three days earlier, this game became largely unimportant. Still, France wanted to keep up their promising form in order to round off their qualification campaign with a solid win. Amoros and Papin were back in the starting eleven, and Casoni kept his place after coming on halfway through for Le Roux, who was still out injured. Bats had announced his international retirement after this game. The French overpowered Cyprus, and were in control throughout, but some efforts from distance apart, they struggled to create clear cut openings against a very defensive opponent. Deschamps struck well first time for his first France goal, and Blanc capitalized on a goalkeeping error to prod into an empty net for the second.

Line-up (4-4-2): Bats – Silvestre, Sauzée, Casoni, Amoros (c) – Ferreri, Pardo, Deschamps, Perez (Blanc 17) – Cantona, Papin.

Conclusion

France were bronze medalists from the 1986 World Cup and top seeded in group 5, but fail to qualify for Italia’90 after a horrible start to their campaign.

TBC 

PosTeamPlWDLGFGAPts
1Yugoslavia862016614
2Scotland8422121210
3France83321079
4Norway82241096
5Cyprus80176201

Player Statistics

Number of players used: 29
Number of players including unused substitutes: 35
Ever-presents (720 mins): 2 (Bats and Sauzée)
Leading goalscorer: 2 (Papin (2 pens), Deschamps)
Yellow/red cards: 7/1

– overview

PlayerAppsXISubUnSubMinsGoalsY/R
Amoros776301/0
Bats887201/0
Battiston22180
Blanc42212671
Boli4413343/0
Bravo422209
Casoni4311315
Cocard1145
Deschamps4312832
Dib33270
Durand3311611
Ferreri44334
Guérit1
Kastendeuch2112116
Laurey11190
Martini8
Paille5233234
Papin6514622 (2 pens)1/0
Passi22148
Perez6513651
Prunier1
Roche1190
Rohr2
Sauzée887201
Silvestre431304
Sonor44360
Thouvenel1
Tigana1190
Vercruysse1119
Xuereb443201
Di Meco221471/1
Le Roux22101
Pardo33270
Cantona 332701
Garde1

– game by game

PlayerNor (h)Cyp (a)Yug (a)Sco (a)Yug (h) Nor (a)Sco (h) Cyp (h)PlayedMinutes
Amoros909090909090907630
Bats90909090909090908720
Battiston90902180
Blanc909014R732+2267
Boli64909090R4334
Bravo90902182+2209
Casoni9090R45903+1315
Cocard45+145
Deschamps139090903+1283
Dib9090903270
Durand5945R57 (s.o.)3161
Ferreri787690904334
GuéritR
Kastendeuch26R90R1+1116
Laurey90R190
MartiniRRRRRRRR
Paille1310903190RRR2+3234
Papin9090129090905+1462
Passi77712148
Perez6917909082175+1365
PrunierR
Roche90190
RohrRR
Sauzée90909090909090908720
Silvestre903490903+1304
Sonor909090904360
ThouvenelR
Tigana90190
VercruysseR19+119
Xuereb908073774320
Di Meco9057 (s.o.)2147
Le Roux56452101
Pardo9090903270
Cantona9090903270
GardeR

– ratings

PosPlayerAverage ratingNumber of rated games
1Ferreri7,104
2Perez7,104
3Sauzée7,028
4Casoni7,024
5Amoros6,957
6Xuereb6,854
7Papin6,845
8Bats6,708
9Boli6,704
10Sonor6,704
Explanation to table: Number of rated games: 8. A player must have featured for four or more games in order to be considered. Number of appearances and then the highest individual rating for single game is used to decide rank in case of equal average rating.

Post-qualification

Friendly
21.01.1990 Kuwait 0-1 France
Goal:
Line-up

Friendly
24.01.1990 France 3-0 East Germany (in Kuwait City)
Goals:
Line-up

Friendly
28.02.1990 France 2-1 West Germany
Goals:
Line-up

Friendly 
28.03.1990 Hungary 1-3 France
Goals:
Line-up

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