The France national under-21 football team (French: Equipe de France Espoirs), known in France as Les Espoirs (French pronunciation: [ɛs.pwaʁ], The Hopes), is the national under-21 football team of France and is controlled by the French Football Federation. The team competes in the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, held every two years.
|Nickname(s)||Les Bleuets (The Little Blues) |
Les Espoirs (The Hopes)
|Association||French Football Federation|
|Head coach||Sylvain Ripoll|
|Most caps||Mickaël Landreau (43)|
|Top scorer||Odsonne Édouard (17)|
|U23: France 0–0 Norway |
(Alès, France; 11 November 1970)
U21: France 1–1 Belgium
(Amiens, France; 3 September 1976)
| France 7–0 Yugoslavia |
(Reims, France; 16 November 1985)
| England 6–0 France |
(Sheffield, England; 28 February 1984)
Records for competitive
|UEFA U-21 Championship|
|Appearances||9 (first in 1982)|
|Best result||Winners (1988)|
Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976, under-21 football teams in Europe were formed. The team is exclusively for football players that are age 21 or under at the start of the two-year campaign of the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship meaning a player can represent the national team until the age of 23.
France has won the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship once in 1988. Notable players on the team that went on to play for the senior national team include Laurent Blanc, Eric Cantona, Franck Sauzée, and Jocelyn Angloma, among others. Blanc was named the tournament's Golden Player. The team's best finish since was in 2002 when the team finished runner-up to the Czech Republic in Switzerland.
The France under-21 team does not have a permanent home. The team plays in stadiums located all around France, particularly grounds of Ligue 2 clubs. Because of the smaller demand compared to the senior national team, smaller facilities are used. Recently, the under-21 team has established the Stade Auguste-Delaune II, home of Stade Reims, as a home residence having played numerous matches there over the past two seasons.
Though, under-21 teams weren't formed until 1976, Les Espoirs, a youth national team in France, had existed since 1950 playing its first match on 22 May 1952 defeating England 7–1 at the Stade Jules Deschaseaux in Le Havre. The team's next match was two years later suffering a 3–1 defeat to Italy in Vicenza. For the rest of the decade, the youth team played seven more matches, which included a 1–1 draw with Hungary in Budapest and a 2–0 loss to England in Sunderland in 1959. In the 1960s, Espoirs continued to play matches against fellow national youth sides. However, on 18 December 1968, the team contested a match against Algeria senior team in Algiers recording an impressive 5–2 victory. Four days later, the team draw 1–1 with the under-23 team of Algeria in Oran. On 12 February 1969, the Espoirs played the Hungary senior team at the Stade Gerland in Lyon. The match ended in a 2–2 draw.
France's under-21 football friendlies and qualifying matches are broadcast by Direct 8.
Results and fixturesEdit
Win Draw Lose Fixture
|12 November 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 2||Liechtenstein||0–5||France||Vaduz, Liechtenstein|
|20:45||Report||Stadium: Rheinpark Stadion|
Referee: Morten Krogh (Denmark)
|16 November 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 2||France||3–1||Switzerland||Caen, France|
||Stadium: Stade Michel d'Ornano|
Referee: Vitali Meshkov (Russia)
|28 March 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C||France||0–1||Denmark||Szombathely, Hungary|
||Stadium: Haladás Sportkomplexum|
Referee: Irfan Peljto (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|28 March 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C||Russia||0–2||France||Szombathely, Hungary|
|21:00||Report||Stadium: Haladás Sportkomplexum|
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández (Spain)
|31 March 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C||Iceland||0–2||France||Győr, Hungary|
|18:00||Report||Stadium: Ménfői úti Stadion|
Referee: Lawrence Visser (Belgium)
|31 May 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship QF||Netherlands||2–1||France||Budapest, Hungary|
||Stadium: Bozsik Aréna|
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
|2 September 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group H||France||3–0||North Macedonia||Le Mans, France|
Referee: Juri Frischer (Estonia)
|6 September 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group H||Faroe Islands||1–1||France||Tórshavn, Faroe Islands|
Referee: Volen Chinkov (Belarus)
|8 October 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group H||France||5–0||Ukraine||Brest, France|
|Report||Stadium: Stade Francis-Le Blé|
Referee: Nick Walsh (Scotland)
Current coaching staffEdit
- As of 22 April 2021
|Assistant manager||Patrice Gonfalone||French|
|Assistant manager||José Alcocer||French|
|Goalkeeping coach||Sylvain Matrisciano||French|
For the 2021–22 and 2022–23 seasons, including the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, players born on or after 1 January 2000 are eligible.
The following 23 players have been called up for the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification matches against Armenia on 11 November 2021 and North Macedonia on 16 November 2021.
Note: Names in italics denote players that have been capped by the senior team.
Caps and goals as of 11 November 2021, after the team's match against Armenia.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||Illan Meslier||2 March 2000||6||0||Leeds United|
|GK||Stefan Bajić||23 December 2001||0||0||Saint-Étienne|
|GK||Guillaume Dietsch||17 April 2001||0||0||Seraing|
|DF||Benoît Badiashile||26 March 2001||11||0||Monaco|
|DF||Adrien Truffert||20 January 2001||9||0||Rennes|
|DF||Pierre Kalulu||5 June 2000||6||1||Milan|
|DF||William Saliba (captain)||24 March 2001||4||0||Marseille|
|DF||Loïc Badé||11 April 2000||3||0||Rennes|
|DF||Malo Gusto||19 May 2003||2||0||Lyon|
|DF||Castello Lukeba||17 December 2002||0||0||Lyon|
|MF||Maxence Caqueret||15 February 2000||10||1||Lyon|
|MF||Eduardo Camavinga||10 November 2002||7||1||Real Madrid|
|MF||Sofiane Diop||9 June 2000||5||3||Monaco|
|MF||Khéphren Thuram||26 March 2001||5||0||Nice|
|MF||Joris Chotard||24 September 2001||2||0||Montpellier|
|MF||Enzo Le Fée||3 February 2000||2||1||Lorient|
|FW||Arnaud Kalimuendo||20 January 2002||6||3||Lens|
|FW||Mohamed-Ali Cho||19 January 2004||5||0||Angers|
|FW||Rayan Cherki||17 August 2003||3||4||Lyon|
|FW||Amine Adli||10 May 2000||3||2||Bayer Leverkusen|
|FW||Nathan Ngoumou||14 March 2000||1||0||Toulouse|
|FW||Hugo Ekitike||20 June 2002||0||0||Reims|
The following players have also been called up to the France under-21 squad and remain eligible:
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|DF||Melvin Bard||6 November 2000||3||0||Nice||v. Armenia, 11 November 2021 INJ|
|DF||Andy Pelmard||12 March 2000||2||0||Basel||v. Faroe Islands, 6 September 2021|
|DF||Wesley Fofana||17 December 2000||3||0||Leicester City||v. Denmark, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|DF||Rayan Aït-Nouri||6 June 2001||5||0||Wolverhampton Wanderers||v. Liechtenstein, 12 November 2020 INJ|
|DF||Bafodé Diakité||6 January 2001||0||0||Toulouse||v. Slovakia, 12 October 2020|
|MF||Alexis Beka Beka||29 March 2001||0||0||Lokomotiv Moscow||v. Serbia, 12 October 2021|
|MF||Aurélien Tchouaméni||27 January 2000||4||0||Monaco||v. Liechtenstein, 12 November 2020 INJ|
|FW||Amine Gouiri||16 February 2000||16||6||Nice||v. Armenia, 11 November 2021 INJ|
|FW||Janis Antiste||18 August 2002||1||0||Spezia||v. Serbia, 12 October 2021|
|FW||Nathanaël Mbuku||16 March 2002||2||1||Reims||v. Faroe Islands, 6 September 2021|
|FW||Sékou Mara||30 July 2002||2||0||Bordeaux||v. Faroe Islands, 6 September 2021|
|FW||Isaac Lihadji||10 April 2002||2||1||Lille||v. Switzerland, 16 November 2020|
|FW||Eric Junior Dina-Ebimbe||21 November 2000||1||0||Dijon||v. Azerbaijan, 7 September 2020|
- Players in italics have played at senior level.
- COV Withdrew due to COVID-19
- CLU Player withdrew from the squad because of a club necessity.
- INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
- SEN Player withdrew from the squad due to a call up to the senior team.
- SH Player sent home by team staff.
- Champions (12): 1977, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015
- Finalists (14): 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016
UEFA U-23 ChampionshipEdit
- 1972: Did not qualify. Finished 4th of 4 in qualification group.
- 1974: Did not qualify. Finished 3rd of 3 in qualification group.
- 1976: Losing quarter-finalists.
UEFA European Under-21 ChampionshipEdit
|1978||Did not qualify||4||0||1||3||4||6|
|1990||Did not qualify||6||3||2||1||11||7|
|1998||Did not qualify||8||4||3||1||13||8|
|2004||Did not qualify||10||8||1||1||20||7|
|2007||Did not qualify||4||2||1||1||6||3|
- *Draws include knockout matches decided via penalty shoot-out.
- **Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won. Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.
2021 UEFA European Under-21 ChampionshipEdit
- "1988: France sweep to final glory". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "1988: Laurent Blanc". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Fédération Française de Football".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to France national under-21 football team.|