Soccer - World Cup Argentina 78 - Group One - France v Hungary

That Time France Wore Green

For one match in the group stage of the 1978 World Cup, Les Bleus became Les Verts.

France has a long and distinguished World Cup history. FIFA was founded in Paris, in 1904; the first World Cup was organized by a Frenchman, Jules Rimet, in 1930; France has hosted the event twice, in 1938 and 1998; and it's won it once, in 1998. And throughout that history, the French — Les Bleus — have worn the blue, white, and red of the French tricolor. Except for that time they wore green.

READY TO PLAY AFP/Getty Images READY TO PLAY The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina in June 1978. On June 10, France met Hungary in the first round of group play. By that point, neither team had any hope of advancing to the second round; both of them had been mathematically eliminated. They were playing for pride. A SLIGHT HITCH AFP/Getty Images A SLIGHT HITCH The match was set to begin at 1:45 p.m., but the start was delayed 45 minutes because, beneath their blue warmups, the French were wearing white jerseys — as were the Hungarians (beneath their red warmups). According to the Guardian, this posed a problem for broadcasters: The teams would be indistinguishable on TV.

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KIMBERLEY TO THE RESCUE AFP/Getty Images KIMBERLEY TO THE RESCUE To address the problem, France borrowed the green-and-white-striped jerseys of a local club, Kimberley. GAME ON AFP/Getty Images GAME ON Hungarian midfielder László Nagy defends French midfielder Claude Papi. OUT OF REACH AFP/Getty Images OUT OF REACH With France leading 2-0 in the 41st minute, Hungary scored to draw within one. A minute later, French forward Dominique Rocheteau (pictured) restored his team's two-goal lead, which Les Bleus — or, in this case, Les Verts — maintained for the rest of the match. DOUBLE TROUBLE Peter Robinson - EMPICS DOUBLE TROUBLE French defenders Marius Tresor (L) and Gerard Janvion get in the way of Hungarian midfielder Sándor Zombori. BITTERSWEET VICTORY AFP/Getty Images BITTERSWEET VICTORY Though France won the match, the two points the victory earned them weren't enough to catch Argentina or Italy, who advanced to the second round. The Italians finished fourth that year, while Argentina, the host country, won its first-ever World Cup.



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