The French Wave the White Flag in South Africa

23 Jun 2010

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is to hold a government meeting on Wednesday to discuss the country’s disastrous World Cup showing.

Sarkozy will also meet Thierry Henry, at the striker’s request on Thursday, as the inquest into the events of South Africa 2010 begins.

France went out in the group stage after a campaign marred by infighting.

Striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home after a row with boss Raymond Domenech, prompting the team to go on strike.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon, sports minister Roselyne Bachelot and junior sports minister Rama Yade will join Sarkozy to discuss how a country that won the World Cup in 1998 and reached the final in 2006 could manage just one point and a single goal at the 2010 edition.

The Professor

“Those responsible for this disaster must accept the consequences, first the players, then the team management and after them the football federation,” Bachelot told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday.

France drew 0-0 with Uruguay in their first game, lost 2-0 to Mexico and were eliminated on Tuesday night after a 2-1 defeat to South Africa.

The French Football Federation have also promised to meet in July to discuss the campaign.

But captain Patrice Evra, who was dropped by Domenech for the South Africa match, says he will reveal details of what happened in the French camp before then.

“I promise to tell the truth about every minute of what I went through,” said Manchester United defender Evra. “French people need to know the truth because the France team belongs to them and nobody else.

“It’s time for us to apologise. It hurts even more because that could have been done on Monday. I could have done it as the team captain but the coach would not let me.”

Domenech and his players were lambasted in the French press on Wednesday.

Raymond Domenech

The end of the road for France

“The end of one world” was the headline in sports daily L’Equipe, which accused Domenech of “taking people for fools”.

Le Parisien carried a front-page headline over a photograph of Domenech saying: “Thank you and goodbye!”

Meanwhile, football’s governing body Fifa said it had not decided yet whether to take action against Domenech for refusing to shake the hand of South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira following the match on Tuesday.

The Brazilian said he believed the snub related to comments he had made about France’s qualification for the tournament, which owed much to a handball by Henry in their play-off win over Ireland in November.