French captain Hugo Lloris believes their performance in the World Cup so far has helped fans support their national team again.
Les Bleus have been surrounded with failure and controversy since lifting the 1998 World Cup on home soil. In Japan and South Korea in 2002 they failed to score a goal and crashed out at the group stages, which included losing to Senegal as they attempted to defend their trophy.
Four years later they did reach the final but lost on penalties to Italy after captain Zinedine Zidane's infamous sending off for head-butting Marco Materazzi. However, things reached an all-time low for France during the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Midway through the competition, striker Nicolas Anelka was dismissed from the national team after reportedly having a dispute, in which obscenities were passed, with team manager Raymond Domenech during half-time of the team's loss to Mexico.
The resulting disagreement over Anelka's expulsion between the players, the coaching staff and federation officials resulted in the players boycotting training before they crashed out at the group stages again.
Back in the big time?
French football was in turmoil but four years on it seems to be well and truly back on track. Didier Deschamps' side are unbeaten following their three group games and face Nigeria in the last-16 on Monday.
France started the tournament emphatically beating Honduras 3-0 and Switzerland 5-2 before drawing their final match 0-0 with Ecuador. This French squad seems more united as a team than in recent tournament and the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper thinks that the relationship with the fans has improved.
"We have noticed a change, a rekindled fondness from the fans," Lloris said.
He also wants the nation to put all the past failures behind them as they look to repeat their 1998 triumph.
"There have been some ups and downs in the past few years that's true. We have done what we needed and made the effort on the pitch to make the fans happy so far, but we want to go further."
Inspiration of history
Lloris also insisted that this current squad can be inspired by the team that won the World Cup 16 years ago.
"Of course France 1998 are an inspiration to us," Lloris told reporters.
"The team of '98 is a reference for all France players and for future generations. I grew up watching them achieve wonderful things. They really are an inspiration to us."
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.