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30.05.2010 12:20

Barca’s World Cup: France (IV)

Jesús Carrillo

France come into the World Cup on the back of an unconvincing qualification stage and a controversial win against Ireland in the play offs. France, runners up in 2006, have selected two Barca players for this year’s tournament – Henry and Abidal.

France have taken part in 10 World Cups and won the Tournament when it was held on home soil in 1998, with the team going on to take the European Championships and Confederation Cup. Henry was present in all three competition wins.

Controversial winner

France finished second in their group, behind Serbia, and faced Ireland in the play off between the best placed second teams. With the scores tied after 180 minutes, a clear handball from Henry led to France’s controversial winner at the Stade de France and gave them their ticket for the finals.

Henry’s fourth

This will be Thierry Henry’s fourth World Cup: after winning the trophy in 1998, he was part of the disappointing team who went out in the first round four years later in Korea, whilst winning a runners up medal in Germany in 2006.

For Abidal, South Africa will be the scene of his second World Cup after starting in six of France’s seven games last time round.

Tough draw

The French have a tough draw, going up against the hosts South Africa, Uruguay and Mexico in the group stage, though their coach Raymond Domenech can at least take comfort from the fact that France have never yet lost to any of the three in a World Cup.

France have met South Africa just once before, winning 3-0 in the 1998 Tournament, with Henry scoring the third. They’ve played Uruguay twice – winning in the 1966 World Cup and drawing 0-0 in Korea - a game that saw Henry sent off after just 25 minutes. The French have faced Mexico three times and not lost once.
Barca’s World Cup: France (IV)
Two former winners
Group A is the only group which includes two previous World Cup winners –France and Uruguay – France won their title by beating Brazil in 1998 and Uruguay took the inaugural World Cup in 1930, defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final and 20 years later saw off Brazil at the Maracana Stadium to take their second title.

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