World Cup Record: Played 9, won 5, lost 3, tied 1, goals for 19, goals against 13.

Best Finish: Quarterfinalist, 1998.

1998 Showing: Lost in the quarterfinals to Brazil.

Coach: Morten Olsen. Played on the "Danish Dynamite" team that lit up the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Players to Watch: Ebbe Sand; Jon Dahl Tomasson; Thomas Helveg.

In Brief: Without giant goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, now retired from international play, and the brothers Laudrup, Brian and Michael, Denmark isn’t what it was four years ago. Still, the Danes have plenty of heart and two top-notch strikers in Sand, the 2001 German Bundesliga top goal scorer, and Tomasson, who is headed for AC Milan after winning the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord, so who knows?

Quick Quote: "I don’t think we have a star. The team is the star."—Morten Olsen.

Forecast: Everything will depend on the June 1 game against Uruguay, when heat and the lack of an internationally experienced goalkeeper could be the Danes’ undoing.


World Cup Record: Played 78, won 48, lost 16, tied 14, goals for 162, goals against 103.

Best Finish: Champion, 1998.

1998 Showing: Defeated Brazil, 3-0, in the final to win it all.

Coach: Roger Lemerre. Was assistant coach on the 1998 World Cup-winning side and inherited a team that, if anything, has grown even stronger since then.

Players to Watch: Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira; Djibril Cisse.

In Brief: Since its victory in Paris four years ago, the world champion has won the 2000 European Championship and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. The question mark is whether erratic goalkeeper Fabien Barthez can avoid a costly blunder once the knockout phase is reached.

Quick Quote: "We are not pretentious and we are not developing a superiority complex, but we know that we have a quality team."—Zinedine Zidane.

Forecast: If it can keep clear of injuries and overcome South American opposition in the later rounds, France can become the first country since Brazil in 1962 to repeat as champion.