Factbox on France
Colours: Blue shirts, white shorts, red socks
Nickname: Les Bleus (The Blues)
Previous World Cup appearances: 12: 1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006
Best World Cup performance: Winners 1998
Coach: Raymond Domenech
Most capped player: Lilian Thuram 142
Top goalscorer: Thierry Henry 51
Fans wonder whether Franck Ribery's form will be affected by the lurid headlines after he was heard as a witness by police investigating a prostitution network.
Domenech would love to see playmaker Yoann Gourcuff live up to his reputation as the next Zinedine Zidane after below-par performances in recent months. More generally, Domenech needs the handful of gifted players in his squad to prove their worth, and form a team at last.
Another concern is William Gallas, France's most reliable central defender, who is hampered by a pulled calf muscle and faces a struggle to be fit for the finals.
Players to watch:
Ribery and Gourcuff, obviously, but also Thierry Henry, the France captain and their most prolific scorer, who has suffered since the handball incident that helped France to win their qualifying playoff against Ireland, and lost his place in the starting line-up at Barcelona.
(Compiled by Patrick Vignal; Editing by Robert Woodward; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)