French Football Team goes down
So France lost (2-1) in football to South Africa today, pushing it out of the World Cup. Very sad, but not too surprising considering that they were playing down due to a red card in the 25th minute all that has been going on with the team.
The squad has been in turmoil crisis since coach Raymond Domenech and the French Federation sent striker Nicolas Anelka home for an offensively worded tirade against Domenech at halftime of the 2-0 loss to Mexico. Following that, the players went on strike, refusing to train on Sunday to protest Anelka’s absence. Next, Domenech dropped captain Patrice Evra from the lineup for leading the player strike, and gave Alou Diarra the captain’s armband against South Africa.
Who is to blame for all this is hard to say. There was strong feeling prior to the World Cup that Domenech should not have been chosen as coach. Still, he was and deserves respect, at least in public, and at least until the World Cup was over. Nor should the players forget that they are representing the whole nation, carrying the hopes and pride and support of the entire nation. Many feel they have betrayed that, and there were even cheers for South Africa and boos for France in Paris, as reported by Elaine Ganley of Associated Press:
French fans in Paris groaned and booed for their own team Tuesday— and even cheered for South Africa—as they watched a critical World Cup match that came after the squad’s public infighting left the nation ashamed and aghast.
Several thousand people, some wearing or waving French fans, showed up to watch the match broadcast on a screen across from the Eiffel Tower. But hopes lost ground as South Africa began scoring, and the mood turned against the French team, which lost 2-1 and was eliminated from the tournament, while Uruguay and Mexico advanced from Group A.
The crowd cheered loudly when France’s Florent Malouda scored the team’s first goal of the tournament. But people had also cheered when France’s Yoann Gourcuff was shown a red card, and there were loud applause mixed in with the boos each time South Africa scored.
And this a team that went to the finals in 2006. Ah well, let us enjoy the remainder of the World Cup -- it is still great football, and look forward to 2014. Laurent Blanc will take over coaching the French team, and try to repair the damage.