That pair, coupled with the normal home strip, meant they had three different looks in seven games but two years later, in winning Euro 2000, they would wear five distinct combinations in six matches.
The first two outings, a 3-0 win over Denmark and a 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic, saw the default first- and second- choice kits used respectively.
Adidas were experimenting with their portrayal of the famous three-stripe trim, with the outside stripes on both the sleeves and shorts continuing along the hems. Also notable was that the away shorts featured a variant – not seen on any other kits, as far as we know – where the stripes closest to the number and the adidas logo swept across the other two and cut them off.
Since the early 1970s, France had included match details on the crests of their shirts and that was the case for this competition too, though instead of the dates of the games, the bottom line simply said ‘Euro 2000’:
The Netherlands, joint-hosts along with Belgium, had also beaten the Czechs and Denmark, meaning that France’s final group game in Amsterdam would determine who finished top and who came second in the group.
France were technically the ‘home’ team for the game but the Dutch had their third blue change kit in a row. In 1997, a friendly in Paris had meant a one-off third kit but this time an easier solution was found – the Netherlands wore their orange and black kit while France wore their away socks.
With qualification guaranteed, France manager Roger Lemerre made a lot of changes and Holland won 3-2. For France, that meant a quarter-final against Group C winners Spain.
This time, France wore all-white, mixing the home shorts with the away shirts and socks as they came from behind to win 2-1.
At the base of the crest, though, instead of game details were simply the words ‘Euro 2000’.
Our best guess for this anomaly is that France had expected to be able to wear their tricolore kit – given that Yugoslavia had been in an identical strip as Spain beat them 4-3 in the final group game – and only brought a spare white kit as a contingency.
Whatever the reasons, when the all-white kit was used again in the semi-final win over Portugal – Zinedine Zidane scoring a penalty for a golden-goal win – the match details were back.
That meant a final clash with Italy. In contrast to their World Cup 98 meeting, France were able to wear their blue shirts, but again both sides made kit alterations. Italy wore all-white and France switched to blue shorts (incidentally, in an U21 game the previous November, France had worn red shorts with with their away shirts to avoid a blue-white-blue against white-blue-white match-up).
This time, the date – July 2 – was included on the crest (see featured image at the top of this post).
Marco Delvecchio put Italy ahead in the second half and it looked like France’s hopes of emulating the Germany 1972-74 team by holding the world and European titles at the same time would be dashed.
Deep into injury though, Sylvain Wiltord equalised to send the game to extra time and David Trezeguet was on hand there to give France a second successive golden-goal victory.