7 French Farce
Why France announced before the World Cup that a new coach, Laurent Blanc, was to take over the reins after the tournament is a move that still beggars belief.
Not because there’s anything wrong with Blanc, but because such decisions can only lead to a troubled dressing room. And coach Raymond Domenech already had poor relations with certain members of the squad.
The ‘Hand of Gaul’ incident, when Thierry Henry handled the ball twice in a scoring sequence against Ireland in the play-offs, sent France to South Africa and karma paid them back by the bucketload.
A tie against Uruguay doesn’t actually look so bad now given the great run ‘La Celeste’ had itself, but the wheels were falling off the cart and would part spectacularly for all the world to see in what can only be described as a shameful and farcical moment in French soccer history.
Midway through a comprehensive 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mexico, striker Nicolas Anelka allegedly insulted the coach, which led to his being sent home. The players then decided to protest by refusing to train. And while they turned up for their final match, against hosts South Africa, another defeat sent them straight home, where President Nicolas Sarkozy was convening a high-level meeting to figure out what went wrong. Duh