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UEFA Euro 2016: Greatest France XI

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5.34K   //    10 Jun 2016, 16:14 IST
France's title-winning Euro 2000 squad

France are this year's hosts for the UEFA European Championships and while they boast of an incredible squad who understand each other excellently well, they're but a shadow of the former French national teams. Especially the ones who dominated and won in 1984 and 2000 with the likes of Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry – some of the world's best players at the time. 

They were ruthless but beautiful at the same time – especially when they broke after trapping their opponents in a speedy counter-attack. While their attack often grabbed all the spotlight, the basis of their success was all done to their defence. They were strong, they were dominating and every one of them had a point to prove. 

Here's looking at France's greatest UEFA European Championship XI


Fabian Barthez

France have had excellent goalkeepers over the past few decades – they have one now too in Hugo Lloris – but the greatest ever Euro goalkeeper will be Fabian Barthez. Back in 2000, Barthez was an excellent keeper who was then plying his trade with English giants Manchester United. 

While he's famous for fumbling the ball into the net on multiple occasions, Barthez maintained a steady and confident self when on national team duty. At Euro 2000, in Belgium and Netherlands, he conceded four goals in three games in the group stages when France climbed out of their group finishing second. 

France were then pitted against Spain – who weren't the superpower they are today – and managed to beat them 2-1. Barthez had no clean sheet but contributed heavily in ensuring his team had every chance to progress to the next round. 

In the next two matches - that is the semi-finals and the finals - when they played Portugal and Italy respectively, Barthez would go on to concede one goal in each game but once again make important saves to finally win the title against Italy after added time. 

For his contribution to the team throughout the tournament, Barthez was also on the UEFA Team of the Tournament. 

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