In form and in contention

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1 Bernard Lama Paris St-Germain

Experienced first-choice goalkeeper with brilliant reflexes, but a problem with his kicking (Age 33, 27 caps).

2 Jocelyn Angloma Internazionale

Adventurous attacking right-back whose good form in Italy has earned a move to Inter from Torino (30, 34).

3 Eric di Meco Monaco

Has never played on a losing side for his country. Former winger who has converted to left-back (32, 22).

4 Franck Leboeuf Strasbourg

Balding centre-back who made his debut at start of season, holding his place with solid performances (28, 8).

5 Laurent Blanc Barcelona

Tall, elegant former Auxerre sweeper with excellent technique. Dangerous in the air at set pieces (30, 48).

6 Vincent Guerin Paris St-Germain

Hard worker who shows great flair and hits a hard shot. 1995 French Footballer of the Year (30, 12).

7 Didier Deschamps Juventus

Tireless midfield artisan, has won the European Cup with Marseille and now Juventus (27, 49).

8 Marcel Desailly Milan

Chosen by Milan as the replacement for Frank Rijkaard. Equally at home in midfield and defence (27, 22).

9 Youri Djorkaeff Internazionale

A world-class attacker who makes and takes chances and has just left Paris St-Germain for Serie A (28, 16).

10 Zinedine Zidane Bordeaux

Most technically gifted midfielder France has had since Platini and Giresse. Links well with Djorkaeff (23, 11).

11 Patrice Loko Paris St-Germain

Suffered minor nervous breakdown at start of season but recovered to find his striking form again (26, 13).

12 Bixente Lizarazu Bordeaux

Attacking left-back from the Basque region, more comfortable going forward than defending (26, 19).

13 Christophe Dugarry Bordeaux

Multi-skilled forward better at making than taking scoring opportunities. Due for a big move abroad (24, 11).

14 Sabri Lamouchi Auxerre

Turned down chance to play for Tunisia, where his parents were born. Quick, hard-working midfielder (24, 5).

15 Lilian Thuram Parma

Prefers centre-back role but can play at right-back or in midfield. Just transferred from Monaco to Parma (24, 10).

16 Fabien Barthez Monaco

Fine young goalkeeper who served a two-month ban this season for taking cannabis (24, 2).

17 Michael Madar Monaco

Tall target man: Monaco's answer to Marseille's Tony Cascarino. Late addition to the regular squad (28, 2).

18 Reynald Pedros Nantes

Good dribbler and goal grabber, but inconsistent. Moody player, prone to tantrums (24, 19).

19 Christian Karembeu Sampdoria

Powerful midfield ball-winner who can also play in the back four. Won French title with Nantes in 1995 (25, 16).

20 Alain Roche Paris St-Germain

Accomplished central defender who reads the game superbly and organises the back four impeccably (28, 27).

21 Corentin Martins Auxerre

The playmaker who makes Auxerre tick, scores goals too, but has yet to fulfil his potential for his country (26, 13).

22 Bruno Martini Montpellier

Steady goalkeeper who lost his place to Lama three years ago but has battled back from injury (34, 31).


The team

A national record of 20 games without defeat, current form of six consecutive wins and the best defensive record in the qualifiers, with two goals conceded in 10 outings, adds up to the best French side since they won the Championship in 1984. Few can pass a ball better than Zidane and Djorkaeff provides a sublime link between midfield and attack, where Loko will be expected to turn possession into goals.

The coach

Aime Jacquet played for Lyon and St-Etienne and played twice in midfield for France. He coached Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier before succeeding Gerard Houllier in January 1994, since when he has brought steel and solidity to the national side.

The fact file

Previous appearances in finals: 1960 (fourth place), 1964 (quarter-finals), 1968 (quarter-finals), 1984 (winners), 1992 (first round).

Qualifying record: W5, D5, L0 (Group One runners-up).

Top scorer in qualifiers: 5 Djorkaeff.

Most appearances in qualifiers: 10 Angloma.

Population 56.6m. Registered clubs 21,186. Registered players 1,9m. Professional players 1,400.