France's History in the World Cup Final as Team Seeks Rare Repeat


You might say France has had some recent success in the World Cup final. 

It was just four years ago that Les Bleus won the title. Having entered the 2022 tournament as defending champions, the team is now one victory away from becoming just the third team to win back-to-back World Cups.

France advanced to its second straight final after a 2-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, with Theo Hernandez opening the scoring in the fifth minute for the earliest World Cup semifinal goal since 1958. 

To repeat as champion, they’ll have to defeat an Argentina team looking to give Lionel Messi his first title in what could be the 35-year-old legend’s final World Cup match.

France and Argentina, looking to capture its first title since 1986, will face off on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET to crown a champion of the month-long global tournament.

Here’s a look at France’s history in the World Cup final:

When did France last win the World Cup?

Four short years ago. 

France won the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, defeating Croatia 4-2 in what was the highest-scoring final since 1966. Antoine Griezmann, who was named Man of the Match, scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick to give France a 2-1 lead in the 38th minute. 

Kylian Mbappé, 19 years old at the time, later netted a second-half goal to increase the lead to 4-1 and become the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele did so at 17 years old in 1958. 

Mbappé and Messi, with five goals each at the 2022 World Cup, enter the final tied for the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading goalscorer.  

How many times has France won the World Cup? 

When France won the World Cup in 2018, it became the sixth nation to have captured multiple titles. 

Les Bleus first won the World Cup in 1998, defeating Brazil 3-0 behind two first-half goals by Zinedine Zidane, who was named Man of the Match.

Twenty years later, France won its second World Cup title after a 4-2 win over Croatia.     

How many times has France made it to the World Cup final? 

France advanced to the World Cup final for the fourth time, having gone 2-1 in previous matches. 

The lone loss in the final came against Italy in 2006. After a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes, France fell to Italy 5-3 in penalty kicks. The match is best remembered for Zidane headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the chest during extra time. Zidane, who scored France’s lone goal in regulation and was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament, was given a red card in what was his final World Cup match. 

How many teams have won back-to-back World Cups?

Only two. 

First to do so was Italy, which won the second ever World Cup in 1934 with a 2-1 win in extra time over Czechoslovakia and then repeated in 1938 with a 4-2 victory over Hungary. 

Brazil became the second team to win consecutive World Cup titles, defeating Sweden 5-2 in 1958 and Czechoslovakia 3-1 in 1962.  

Who has won the most World Cups?

With a victory on Sunday, France will have won more World Cups than all but three nations. 

Brazil leads the way with five titles. Germany and Italy are tied for second with four each. France, Argentina and Uruguay each have won two World Cups. 

Here is the full list of World Cup winners: 

  • Brazil: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
  • Germany: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
  • Italy: 4 (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
  • Argentina: 2 (1978, 1986)
  • France: 2 (1998, 2018)
  • Uruguay: 2 (1930, 1950)
  • Spain: 1 (2010)
  • England: 1 (1966)
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