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Club News

Rovers World Cup Connections: France

4 June 2018

Club News

Rovers World Cup Connections: France

4 June 2018

Continuing our look at Rovers links with teams involved in this year's FIFA World Cup - we explore what ties Rovers have with France.

France are competing in their fifteenth World Cup Finals and they won the tournament in 1998.

Five Frenchmen

Five men who have represented Rovers in the Football League were born in France – Stéphane Léoni, Moussa Dagnogo, Alexandre Jeannin, Oumare Tounkara and Alexis André. The fifth name on this list played in goal against Walsall during the 2017/18 season, whilst Tounkara is still scoring regularly for Châteauroux in the French leagues and Léoni is coach at the French club Trémery.

Between the wars, a number of Rovers players headed out to France towards the end of their careers, whilst in 1950 Geoff Taylor played for Stade Rennais in front of a 40,000 crowd in Paris. 

Three French Internationals

Whilst 72 French born opponents have faced Rovers in the Football League, the most recent being Ousseyrou Cissé of MK Dons, who played against Rovers in March 2018, 12 men born in France have registered a League goal against Rovers.

That said, only three players who have faced Rovers have played international football for the French side.

Morgan Schneiderlin scored at The Mem for Southampton in April 2010 and has since won 15 full caps for France.

Eric Sabin, who also scored at the Mem, this time whilst playing for Northampton Town in in January 2005, played for France on three occasions.

In an FA Cup tie in January 1999, Orient fielded Amara Simba, who won three full caps for France.

Rovers in Paris

Rovers are known to have played at least three matches in France.

In March 1909 there was an exhibition game played in Paris against Southampton. Trailing

2-1 at the interval, Rovers contrived to draw the game 5-5.

In May 1933 Rovers lost 3-1 to AC Milan at the Stade St Maurice in Nice, George McNestry scoring the goal from the penalty spot.

Four days later, Rovers lost 3-1 to a French XI, McNestry again scoring.

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