France national under-21 football team

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 Championship, held every two years.

France Under-21
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Les Bleuets (The Little Blues)
Les Espoirs (The Hopes)
AssociationFrench Football Federation
Head coachThierry Henry
Most capsMickaël Landreau (46)
Top scorerOdsonne Édouard (17)
First colours
Second colours
First international
France France 7–1 England 
(Le Havre, France; 22 May 1952)
Biggest win
France France 9–0 Cyprus 
(Grenoble, France; 17 October 2023)
Biggest defeat
 England 6–0 France France
(Sheffield, England; 28 February 1984)
Records for competitive
matches only.
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances11 (first in 1982)
Best resultWinners (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 Championship, meaning a player can represent the national team until the age of 23.

France has won the Under-21 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.[1] Blanc was named the tournament's Golden Player.[2] The team's best finish since was in 2002 when the team finished runners-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.

History

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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.

Team image

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Media coverage

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France's under-21 football friendlies and qualifying matches are broadcast by Direct 8.

Results and fixtures

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Legend

  Win   Draw   Lose   Fixture

2023

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25 March Friendly England   4–0   France Leicester, England
Report Stadium: King Power Stadium
Referee: Joey Kooij (Netherlands)
28 March Friendly France   0–0   Spain Vannes, France
Report Stadium: Stade de la Rabine
16 June Friendly France   1–0   Mexico Grenoble, France
Report Stadium: Stade des Alpes
22 June U21 Euro 2023 GS France   2–1   Italy Cluj-Napoca, Romania
21:45 EEST (UTC+3)
Report
Stadium: Cluj Arena
Attendance: 11,286
Referee: Allard Lindhout (Netherlands)
25 June U21 Euro 2023 GS Norway   0–1   France Cluj-Napoca, Romania
21:45 EEST (UTC+3) Report
Stadium: Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu
Attendance: 1,507
Referee: Donatas Rumšas (Lithuania)
28 June U21 Euro 2023 GS Switzerland   1–4   France Cluj-Napoca, Romania
21:45 EEST (UTC+3)
Report
Stadium: Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu
Attendance: 1,652
Referee: Morten Krogh (Denmark)
2 July U21 Euro 2023 QF France   1–3   Ukraine Cluj-Napoca, Romania
22:00 EEST (UTC+3)
Report
Stadium: Cluj Arena
Attendance: 6,281
Referee: João Pinheiro (Portugal)
7 September Friendly France   4–1   Denmark Nancy, France
Report
Stadium: Stade Marcel Picot
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Jonathan Lardot (Belgium)
11 September 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Slovenia   0–4   France Koper, Slovenia
Report
Stadium: Bonifika Stadium
Referee: Ondřej Berka (Czech Republic)
17 October 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification France   9–0   Cyprus Grenoble, France
Report Stadium: Stade des Alpes
Referee: Miloš Bošković (Montenegro)
20 November Friendly France   0–3   South Korea Le Havre, France
Report
Stadium: Stade Océane
Referee: Andrei Florin Chivulete (Romania)

2024

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Coaching staff

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Current coaching staff

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As of 21 August 2023
Position Name Nationality
Manager Thierry Henry   French
Assistant manager Gérald Baticle   French
Assistant manager Gaël Clichy   French
Goalkeeping coach Patrick L'Hostis   French
Doctor Marc Chasselat   French
Physiotherapist Florian Simon   French

Players

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Current squad

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For the 2023–24 and 2024–25 seasons, including the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, players born on or after 1 January 2002 are eligible.

The following 23 players were called up for 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification match against Austria and for a friendly macth against South Korea on 17 and 20 November 2023, respectively.[3]

Note: Names in italics denote players that have been capped by the senior team.

Caps and goals as of 26 Mars 2024, after the team's match against   Chile.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Guillaume Restes (2005-03-11) 11 March 2005 (age 19) 5 0   Toulouse
1GK Robin Risser (2004-12-02) 2 December 2004 (age 19) 0 0   Dijon
1GK Obed Nkambadio (2003-02-07) 7 February 2003 (age 21) 0 0   Paris FC

2DF Castello Lukeba (vice-captain) (2002-12-17) 17 December 2002 (age 21) 15 0   RB Leipzig
2DF Malo Gusto (2003-05-19) 19 May 2003 (age 21) 9 1   Chelsea
2DF Quentin Merlin (2002-05-16) 16 May 2002 (age 22) 9 0   Marseille
2DF Chrislain Matsima (2002-05-15) 15 May 2002 (age 22) 3 1   Monaco
2DF Elyaz Zidane (2005-12-26) 26 December 2005 (age 18) 0 0   Sevilla
2DF Kiliann Sildillia (2002-05-16) 16 May 2002 (age 22) 3 0   SC Freiburg
2DF Jeanuël Belocian (2005-02-17) 17 February 2005 (age 19) 1 0   Rennes
2DF Isaak Touré (2003-03-28) 28 March 2003 (age 21) 0 0   Lorient

3MF Johann Lepenant (2002-10-22) 22 October 2002 (age 21) 6 1   Lyon
3MF Maghnes Akliouche (2002-02-25) 25 February 2002 (age 22) 5 1   Monaco
3MF Lesley Ugochukwu (2004-03-26) 26 March 2004 (age 20) 5 0   Chelsea
3MF Lucas Gourna-Douath (2003-08-05) 5 August 2003 (age 20) 2 0   Red Bull Salzburg
2DF Ismaël Doukouré (2003-07-24) 24 July 2003 (age 20) 2 0   Strasbourg
3MF Enzo Millot (2002-07-17) 17 July 2002 (age 21) 0 0   VfB Stuttgart

4FW Arnaud Kalimuendo (2002-01-20) 20 January 2002 (age 22) 27 8   Rennes
4FW Rayan Cherki (2003-08-17) 17 August 2003 (age 20) 19 11   Lyon
4FW Bradley Barcola (2002-09-02) 2 September 2002 (age 21) 12 4   Paris Saint-Germain
4FW Elye Wahi (2003-01-02) 2 January 2003 (age 21) 12 3   Lens
4FW Georginio Rutter (2002-04-20) 20 April 2002 (age 22) 4 0   Leeds United
4FW Mathys Tel (2005-04-27) 27 April 2005 (age 19) 3 2   Bayern Munich

Recent call-ups

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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
GK Lucas Lavallée (2003-02-18) 18 February 2003 (age 21) 0 0   Dunkerque v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
GK Thimothée Lo-Tutala (2003-02-13) 13 February 2003 (age 21) 0 0   Hull City v.   Norway, 19 November 2022

DF Soungoutou Magassa (2003-10-08) 8 October 2003 (age 20) 1 0   Monaco v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023
DF Maxime Estève (2002-05-26) 26 May 2002 (age 22) 1 0   Burnley v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023
DF Bradley Locko (2002-05-06) 6 May 2002 (age 22) 0 0   Brest v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023
DF Thierno Baldé (2002-06-10) 10 June 2002 (age 22) 1 0   Troyes v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
DF Tanguy Nianzou (2002-06-07) 7 June 2002 (age 22) 1 1   Sevilla v.   Denmark, 7 September 2023 INJ
DF Yoan Koré (2004-11-16) 16 November 2004 (age 19) 0 0   Paris FC v.   Spain, 28 March 2023

MF Warren Zaïre-Emery (captain) (2006-03-08) 8 March 2006 (age 18) 4 0   Paris Saint-Germain v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023SEN
MF Habib Diarra (2004-01-03) 3 January 2004 (age 20) 3 0   Strasbourg v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023
MF Lucien Agoumé (2002-02-09) 9 February 2002 (age 22) 2 0   Sevilla v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
MF Andy Diouf (2003-05-17) 17 May 2003 (age 21) 1 0   Lens v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
MF Eduardo Camavinga (2002-11-10) 10 November 2002 (age 21) 13 2   Real Madrid v.   Ukraine, 9 June 2022

FW Désiré Doué (2005-06-03) 3 June 2005 (age 19) 1 0   Rennes v.   Cyprus, 17 October 2023
FW Sékou Mara (2002-07-30) 30 July 2002 (age 21) 4 1   Southampton v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
FW Wilson Odobert (2004-11-28) 28 November 2004 (age 19) 1 0   Burnley v.   Slovenia, 11 September 2023
FW Matthis Abline (2003-03-28) 28 March 2003 (age 21) 4 1   Nantes v.   Spain, 28 March 2023
FW Mohamed-Ali Cho (2004-01-19) 19 January 2004 (age 20) 7 0   Nice v.   Germany, 23 September 2022 INJ
FW Hugo Ekitike (2002-06-20) 20 June 2002 (age 21) 0 0   Paris Saint-Germain v.   North Macedonia, 16 November 2021
FW Janis Antiste (2002-08-18) 18 August 2002 (age 21) 1 0   Reggiana v.   Serbia, 12 October 2021
FW Nathanaël Mbuku (2002-03-16) 16 March 2002 (age 22) 2 1   Saint-Étienne v.   Faroe Islands, 6 September 2021
FW Isaac Lihadji (2002-04-10) 10 April 2002 (age 22) 2 1   Al-Duhail v.    Switzerland, 16 November 2020
Notes
  • 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.
  • WD Player withdrew from the squad for personal reasons.

Previous squads

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Honours

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Champions (1): 1988
Runners-up (1): 2002
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

Competitive record

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UEFA U-23 Championship

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  • 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 Championship

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Year Result Pld W D* L GF GA
1978 Did not qualify 4 0 1 3 4 6
1980 4 2 1 1 3 2
1982 Quarter-finals 6 3 1 2 9 8
1984 Quarter-finals 6 3 1 2 11 9
1986 Quarter-finals 8 2 3 3 13 13
1988 Champions 12 6 5 1 21 13
1990 Did not qualify 6 3 2 1 11 7
1992 8 3 2 3 7 5
  1994 Fourth place 14 10 2 2 24 8
  1996 Third place 14 8 4 2 30 5
  1998 Did not qualify 8 4 3 1 13 8
  2000 8 6 2 2 19 6
  2002 Runners-up 15 12 3 0 27 7
  2004 Did not qualify 10 8 1 1 20 7
  2006 Semi-finals 14 10 2 2 24 10
  2007 Did not qualify 4 2 1 1 6 3
  2009 10 5 3 2 17 7
  2011 8 4 3 1 12 6
  2013 10 8 0 2 23 7
  2015 10 8 1 1 31 11
  2017 10 6 2 2 17 8
  2019 Semi-finals 14 11 2 1 28 11
    2021 Quarter-finals 14 11 0 3 37 13
    2023 Quarter-finals 14 11 2 1 39 10
Total 1 title 223 137 46 40 414 180
*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.

See also

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References

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  1. ^ "1988: France sweep to final glory". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  2. ^ "1988: Laurent Blanc". Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Fédération Française de Football" (in French).
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