Sunday, June 20, 2010

A French Disgrace, Or Irish Justice?

"Everyone in the whole world is mocking us now. I'm gutted, because we're not playing football any more" - Franck Ribery, France midfielder

I'm not going to spend too much time talking about this issue but I felt I needed to address the absolutely ridiculous behaviour of the French national team at this year's world cup. If you are not up to speed on how the French are doing in the tournament let me sum it up one word... horribly. This team is laden with talent some countries in this tournament would die to have, some of the African nations especially as some of the French internationals were born in their countries. They have lacked any sort of guile on the field, the managing has been poor and the attitude of the players likewise. For a nation that essentially got into this world cup via a hand ball; you would think they would come to the tournament trying to prove the naysayers wrong by putting in confident performances.

However the opposite has happened and now the team faces the real possibility of not making it through to the round of 16 if they draw or lose to South Africa on Tuesday. Also to compound their issues the players and management are in a row with each other over the dismissal of star striker Nicolas Anelka from the team. Anelka who has never been a managers favorite mouthed off to manager Raymond Domenech during half time of France's 2-0 defeat to Mexico Thursday. For Domenech it was the last straw in a series of bust ups going back to Euro 2008. He hoped this would help the team focus and eliminate a distraction from the dressing room, however all it has actually done is gavlvinize the players aganist the manager. Plus now lead by captain Patrice Evra they are refusing to train for the up coming match on Tuesday. Evra himself had a bust up with fitness coach Robert Duverne which lead to them having to be physically separated (see video below).

Now it natural to at times have disagreements with how things are being run in football, but having fist fights and leading a player revolt by not training is simply unacceptable. It screams unprofessionalism and selfishness at the highest levels. When you are picked to wear your country's shirt and represent its people at the biggest sporting event in the world you own a certain responsibility that is greater than your individual misgivings. The fact of the matter is the reputation of the 1998 World Champions is damaged on the world stage, its supporters who to their credit have called out this terrible behaviour deserve better, the World Cup deserves better.

Although I had picked France to go through I am whole heartily hoping for a South African victory, I also hope France decide not to show up and mail in the game. This group of players and management deserve the ridicule and embarrassment a loss like this would bring. It will also bring to light the unjust way France qualified for the tournament in the first place; they may not have gotten far if they made it but there is no way the Republic of Ireland would ever embarrass the game like the French are right now. I'm sure Irish players are sitting back and feeling a bit of justice is being served, however I'm sure they would love to up in France's place and win some respect back.

After this World Cup legendary former French player Laurent Blanc will take over as national team manager, and if I were him I would never even think about selecting the majority of these players again for Euro qualifying. He will have a very difficult task of not only rebuilding the squad, but rebuilding the pride within Les Bleus.

No comments:

Post a Comment