WITH the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland kicking off later today here is a guide to the French team so you can impress your friends over a beer.
Many players will be familiar to watchers of the Premier League, with the likes of William Gallas, of Arsenal, Patrice Evra of Manchester United and Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka all expected to feature.
There are also a number of players who used to play in England, such as Barcelona's Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira of Inter Milan, set to be plying their trade over the next few weeks.
But the French squad also features a few young guns who may come to the fore at this tournament including strikers Karim Benzema of Lyon and Bafétimbi Gomis from St-Etienne, as well as midfielder Samir Nasri, who plays for Marseille.
Fixtures - Group C (local time):
France v Romania - June 9 at 6pm, Zurich.
France v Netherlands - June 13, 8.45pm, Berne.
France v Italy - June 17, 8.45pm, Berne.
Qualified alongside Italy from a group that also featured Scotland, who they lost to both in Paris and at Hampden Park, tightened things up at the back to squeeze through.
European Championship history:
Won the competition in 1984 beating Spain 2-0 in the final, and were crowned champions in 2000 thanks to a golden goal from David Trezeguet to secure a 2-1 victory over Italy.
Raymond Domenech, the man that most French football fans love to hate. Criticised as being aloof and for looking down on practically everyone, he also enjoys amateur dramatics which seems to annoy some.
However, he has know many of the players for years as he was manager of the U-21 squad. He is of partly Spanish-Catalan descent.
Beyond the recognised names of Gallas, Henry, Vieira and Anelka many of the younger players could really shine.
Franck Ribery, at 25, has become an established name in the team and the championship might have come at the right time for him. Playing his football for Bayern Munich he is a little out of the spotlight, but his pace and dribbling skills can rip any team apart.
Younger still is Lyon striker Karim Benzema, who at 20 has sparked interest amongst many Premier League clubs, while at the same age Samir Nasri has a price tag of anything north of £12million hanging around his neck - as well as being called the next Zinedine Zidane.
If either of these players sets the competition alight expect a few more million to be added to their price tags and interest from English, Spanish and Italian clubs to soar.
The biggest problem France faces is that they are in the so-called 'Group of Death' as they face Italy, Netherlands and Romania with any slip up likely to mean elimination from the competition.
There are also question marks about the fitness of the team's defence with three of the regular back four close to or aged over 30, and how much ground can 35-year-old holding midfielder Claude Makelele keep covering?
Can France win?
There is no doubt they have one of the most creative and devastating attacks in the European Championships, but it is in defence they could become unstuck.
And there always seems to be rumblings of unrest in the French camp during competitions and whether Raymond Domenech has the man management skills for such a situation is questionable.
But if they top their group they undoubtedly face an 'easier' game in the quarter finals against possibly Russia, come out of Group C as runners up and they are likely to go head-to-head with Spain, which should be a great game.
Full squad (Number, name, team):
23, Grégory Couper - Olympique Lyonnais
16, Sébastien Frey - ACF Fiorentina
1, Stève Mandanda - Olympique de Marseille
3, Eric Abidal - F.C. Barcelone
2, Jean-Alain Boumsong - Olympique Lyonnais
14, François Clerc - Olympique Lyonnais
13, Patrice Evra - Manchester United
5, William Gallas - Arsenal F.C.
19, Willy Sagnol - Bayern Münich
17, Sébastien Squillaci - Olympique Lyonnais
15, Lilian Thuram - F.C. Barcelone
21, Lassana Diarra - FC Portsmouth
6, Claude Makelele - Chelsea FC
20, Jérémy Toulalan - Olympique Lyonnais
4, Patrick Vieira - Inter Milan
8, Nicolas Anelka - Chelsea FC
9, Karim Benzema - Olympique Lyonnais
18, Bafetimbi Gomis - AS Saint-Etienne
10, Sidney Govou - Olympique Lyonnais
12, Thierry Henry - FC Barcelone
7, Florent Malouda - Chelsea FC
11, Samir Nasri - Olympique de Marseille
22, Franck Ribery - Bayern Munich
Website: FFF Equipe de France
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