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Posted by Rabeeta Farooque on 06/23/2010

I didn't think France could do any worse than their disastrous performance during Euro 2008. But when it comes to defying expectations - or the lack thereof - no one does it better than Domenech and his crew.

The match against South Africa will probably go down as the lowest moment in the history of Les Bleus. Though France have had worse games and even worse tournaments (in 1994 they didn't even qualify for the World Cup), as tragedies go, yesterday takes the cake.

I don't know this man.

I'm going to skip over the events leading to France ending up in the bottom of their group, as that deserves a post of its own. I'm not even going to bring up France's performance in the games because I'm still in shock, plus there isn't much to analyze analyze anyway. Nor am I going to talk much about Domenech because there's nothing new to say about him, but at least he's gone forever.

However, I am going to rant about the players. I blame them more than Domenech, which I didn't think was actually possible. And right now, I'm hating Nicolas Anelka. A lot.

Though it's hard to pinpoint what exactly turned Les Bleus into a production of Mean Girls, Domenech's tenure has never yielded good results, and his relationship with the players has never been stable. His tactics are from the stone ages, and from the day he was hired until the day he was sort of fired, he never figured out how to best utilize his players. He never should have been kept on after Euro 2008, and the fact that he lasted through World Cup qualifying makes me wonder just what drugs the FFF were taking. But most importantly for me, even though it seems otherwise, what with his strange tactical choices and his reliance on two DMs, Domenech has never been able to fully control his players.

Oh, and the best part of yesterday's match? Domenech's refusal to shake the hand of South Africa's coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira. It was an unclassy moment to cap off an unclassy performance by an unclassy team. Because in all honesty, France's performance all the way through qualifying and then in the group stages only confirms what we all knew deep inside our hearts - that France never deserved to go through to the next round. Maybe they even shouldn't have had a place in the World Cup to begin with. It's a harsh assessment, but any team that disrespects its country and its fans the way France did doesn't deserve anything less.

Yeah, you better hide.

But all the Domenech hatred in the world cannot explain away the temper tantrums thrown by the spoiled divas chosen to represent France. What troubles me is that it's the same group of players that are causing the problems. We all know who they are.

Of course I don't know the whole story that lead to the implosion within the squad, at least I won't until Patrice Evra does his big reveal, but Anelka's behavior this World Cup has proven that he has no future in blue. Maybe he never did. From the way he treated Yoann Gourcuff to his insults to Domenech (no matter how France did or what the tactics were, no player should EVER speak to his coach like that. It's inexcusable), he's failed to act like a professional. Anelka refused to apologize for his outburst, and in typical fashion, he was more upset that his behavior became public than the fact that France's poor performance against Mexico was as much the fault of him and his teammates as it was Domenech's. And let's face it, he's not even that good of a player to even somewhat justify his diva behavior. At least Zidane knew what he was doing when he pushed Domenech around four years ago. Anelka's contributions have been moderate at best, and I remain convinced that there are far better options up front.

I'm also really disappointed in /strong>Franck Ribery. He was more humble guy during the last WC, but in the following years, his ego has inflated to massive proportions, and he's become a jerk. His collusion with Anelka and William Gallas over Gourcuff's ostracism, his role in planning the training boycott, and his selfish behavior on the pitch - yesterday he made Cristiano Ronaldo look like one of the Sisters of Mercy - makes me wish he could be axed from the squad as well.

Some captain Evra turned out to be.

Gallas, well, he's always been a petulant diva, so I can't say I'm surprised at his antics. If he is never called up for France again, it'll be the best news ever. Same goes for Patrice Evra, whose behavior as captain has been downright shameful. The fact that his obsession with finding the "traitor" that leaked Anelka's tirade to the press took priority over his displaying leadership and uniting his team so that France could still have a shot at making it to the next round says it all. His post match comments on how he now regrets the boycott merely makes it worse - just what did he think would happen?

Objectively, all this is downright hilarious when you consider that Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri were dropped because they cause drama.

I'm troubled when I think of what Laurent Blanc has waiting for him. It would be hard for anyone to pick up the pieces of the mess that is Les Bleus, but he'll also have several petulant players on his hands, all of whom demand special treatment. Domenech was never able to impose his will on his players, and I am not sure if Blanc's personality is strong enough to manage it either.

Stay tuned for more of the fallout that is sure to take place in the next few weeks.

Or follow me personally @LyonOffside


Posted by Sam Owiti on 06/25/2010

Ever since the Henry handball incident during the match against Ireland all football fans (even French) have been wishing and expecting just such a meltdown. Les Bleus had no business being in South Africa in the first place so an ignominious exit was just what the doctor ordered. What came as a surprise was the simultaneous implosion and explosion of Les Bleus. The explosion was Anelka's outburst and the implosion was the sit-in during training and Monsieur Domenech response if it can be called that. As was written somewhere, "Good Bye and Thank You!"

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

I can't be asked to translate Henry's interview from yesterday eve, the one he was meant to "tell everything", but here are some highlights. Lowlights actually.

About Anelka's chosen words to Domenech:

"No one can't say I wasn't far (two negations, basically he probably was a bit far), I coudln't hear exactly what Nico (Anelka) said, he was mumbling, but these (dirty son of a whore) were not Nico's words!"

= you couldn't hear but you can definitely say these weren't the words used.....?

"I was left isolated" When asked "by whom? ": "It's irrelevant, whoever, it is not the point"

= so much for "telling everything ", I thought that was the point of the intw. Too coward to names names?

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

About his isolation: "I could have been the "big brother", but today there's no respect for the elders, but it is just like today's society."

= Errrrrrr....... you regret the lack of respect and yet condone Anelka's behaviour, so much that you went on strike for him??? No words on Evra's bust-up with a coach either, wasn't it a blatant lack of respect? And refusing to strike and playing like shit, where's the respect for us french supporters? The players couldn't even bother to talk directly to the country to explain the strike, and couldn't bother to even say hi to the fools who came at Le Bourget airport to welcome them, including YOU....that's "respek" to you, Monsieur Henry?

"I got a meeting with President Sarkozy"
How did it go?
"Very well. We talked about football and everything."

=Thanks. For. That.
I feel I know much more now already.

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

Also, he didn't see any confrontation, didn't see any argument, didn't hear anything, it was all good in the French camp. In a nutshell, it was an Italian-style "I know noooothing". 20 minutes of my life I'm never gonna get back. Cannot stand the man.

Same goes for Evra and Abidal's interviews, we were promised a bomb, we got a wet shitty firework.
I have no time for those *!%$*&, they're a shame to the nation. Basically they went on strike 'cause they're morons and have no shame.

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

I meant "refusing to train" in the second post. Désolé :)

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

One last point: the entire time they didn't care about Domenech, didn't respect him and didn't listen to him. They even went on strike partly against him.
Yet Mister Evra tells us he was meant to apologize on behalf of the team to the nation on sunday evening but didn't because Mr Domenech didn't want him to.
IS HE TAKING US FOR MUGS? One minute they don't respect his orders and next thing we know he tells us he obeys sheepishly to Raymond?
Also, I am a bit gutted that that idiot of a supporter (the egg incident) couldn't see clearly enough that Lloris was one of the good guys. He wouldn't say boo to a goose (ie his reaction)
According to gossips, here are some of the nice guys: Lloris Toulalan Squillaci Diarra Clichy Gourcuff, also and Cisse who was apparently sad and a bit depressed during this whole sorry affair.Trouble for them is that they seem to be too shy to revolt against the "caids".
Ribery's character in a nutshell:

Posted by Gilles on 06/26/2010

(Me again, sorry)

I read that Clichy is said to have texted mates and family in France on the lines of "They are destroying my WC dream" from that infamous coach.....
One of the good guys who really didn't deserve what happened.

Posted by Steve on 06/30/2010

S**t rolls downhill. At the top of the mountain is the FFF, down a little further was Domenech and then the players below him. It's the fans who are at the bottom of the mountain that get hit by this giant ball of crap, sadly. We can blame the players all we want, but this kind of nonsense would never happen with a coach that commands the respect of his players.

A few words about Patrice Evra: Making him captain moments before the WC began was
absolute lunacy. Why even bring Thierry Henry along if you are going to strip him of his captaincy and then dump all that pressure on Evra's shoulders? Horrible decision. I won't consider a guy who has been nothing but a standout on and off the pitch for United ( I despise them, yet still have much respect for Evra) as a petulant, me-first modern player. I just think he cracked under the pressure.

I see there are resignations at the FFF. Good. You can't fire these players. They are world-class and it's time to find the right manager.

Posted by Steve on 06/30/2010

Also, I think the government needs to back off. Doubt they'll listen to me, but seriously, let the players play, the manager manage, and the federation, well...federate.

If the FFF makes the right decisions like not kicking huge talents like Ribery, Evra, Nasri, and Benzema to the curb for perceived attitude issues, and finds the right manager, Les Bleus will be a force come Euro 2012.

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