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The end of an era in French football

South Africa leaves with dignity, France with shame.

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Au revoir.
  • Au revoir.

Just when we thought it couldn't get any more embarrassing for the French National Team, they were eliminated from the World Cup Tuesday night in a defeat to a South African team who became the first ever nation in the history of the World Cup to fail to progress from the group stages.

After controversially qualifying for the World Cup in the first place, many were hoping that karma would come back to hit the French. Yesterday their hope became reality after France's infamous World Cup campaign came to an end.

France have great players in their team, they always have and probably always will. Most importantly however, one thing France does not have is a great coach. You can't help but feel sorry that such a talented generation of French players has been going to waste because of the manager. Although the players themselves did not play great; the root of the cause was the disunity of the team which head coach Raymond Domenech was very much a part of.

Domenech's squad selection for the tournament was questionable. And when he decided to send star striker Nicolas Anelka home after his outburst at half-time in a 2-0 loss to Mexico, all the players decided to side with Anelka and refused to train the following day (although admittedly, Anelka is not known for being a mature footballer).

The disunity continued as defender Eric Abidal was dropped to the bench for France's last game. And when asked about the decision, Domenech answered by saying: "Eric Abidal wasn't in a state to be able to play and he came and told me that so I preferred he sat on the bench."

However, captain Patrice Evra who was also dropped to the bench and had his captaincy replaced noted that the real truth will come out soon from the players in the following days.

Coach Domenech's controversy continued after the match when he refused to shake the hand of South Africa's head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira while he shook everyone else's hand. According to Parreira, Domenech's reasoning: "(Domenech said to me) I don't want to talk to you because you make bad words against my national team... For the life of me I can't remember what I have said".

Zidane at his age now > entire French team under Domenech.
  • Zidane at his age now > entire French team under Domenech.

Clearly France's downfall has been a consequence of disunity within the team. But no one can argue against the fact that France just hasn't been the same ever since the brilliant Zinedine Zidane retired. Not only was he one of the best 'footballers' that ever lived - leading France to the Euro 2000 title, its first ever World Cup trophy in 1998, and the World Cup finals in 2006 - he was also an inspiration and influence in the locker-room that was able to come between any disunity in the team.

How bad was the vanquish of the French National Team? So bad that Credit Agricole - lifetime sponsor of the French national team - decided to stop sponsoring the team.

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