“France should just go home, OK? Fly in the Irish…”
So says Alexi Lalas in the ESPN wrap-up session after today’s World Cup games.
Patrice Evra got into it with the fitness coach Robert Duverne during a very public session on the French training ground. Generally disliked head coach Raymond Domenech intervened, yadda yadda… we end with Duverne storming off the field and chucking his credentials into the distance.
The last bit of that widely circulated footage is Alexi Lalas’ most favorite. He is also wondering if anyone has found the discarded loot, because he bets it would be worth a lot.
The entire team then managed to agree on the first matter on which they have had such success: They banded together and refused to practice, raising concerns about forfeiting their last group match against Bafana Bafana.
The crux of their beef? The sending home of forward Nicolas Anelka, who purportedly insulted Domenech during their last half time.
Of course, all of France has been insulting Domenech for a while now, but that’s besides the point. There is mutiny here.
So after the team stormed off, they sent poor Domenech back out to read their statement.
It’s just too ridiculous. The whole thing is just absurd. You have to almost feel bad for him.
“All the players in the French squad without exception wish to affirm their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka. The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. It took a decision without even consulting the players as a whole, uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players has decided not to take part in today’s training session.”
Are you serious? Etes-vous serieux?
While all this was going down, the Team Director and Soccer Federation Managing Director for France, Jean-Louis Valentin also took leave of the field, announcing his resignation.
“They don’t want to train, it’s a scandal,” said Valentin, tears of anger in his voice. “It’s a scandal for the French people, for the youngsters who came here to watch them train. I’m resigning, I’m leaving the federation. I have nothing more to do here. I’m going back to Paris.” (source: ABC.com)
Talk about embarrassing.
So you start out with a team that people are feeling isn’t going to live up to past glory (quite a bit past, really). You have an unpopular coach. You are still the national team. France loves you. You’re there to do the whole French glory thing, uphold the Patrie. Then you draw with Uruguay. Then you go ahead and lose to Mexico while insulting your coach. To remedy this, you figure, “Oui, I will cause a massive scene in front of fans and the press, jeopardize any remaining iota of respect we might possess and funnel national frustration with our performance into hate for our actual selves.”
The French press is not reacting kindly. Waterloo references are being made (and you know, that’s not their favorite thing to bring up in France), the team’s behavior is being compared to steaming pile of shit, and the Parisien (on the gentler side of things) bemoans the fact that not only is France stuck with the worst team at the cup, but “to also have the most stupid is intolerable.”
Even “villain” Zinedine Zidane condemned this former team: “There’s two things that will be remembered from this World Cup—the winner and the fact that the French team refused to attend the training session ahead of their match with South Africa.”
Furthermore, French corporate sponsorship is being pulled. The likes of Credit Agricole and Quick want nothing to do with the scandal.
Recall my sadness when Les Bleus lost to Mexico. I was upset, feeling both tragic and frustrated. And while it pains me to turn my back, I now just really, really, really want to see South Africa finalize the decimation of the French team—not only because it would be great to see the host nation win one, but let’s face it: those French cocks need to be taught a lesson about…
…Well there are so many things. Let’s go with “functioning,” to put it broadly.
There, I said it.
And I am so thankful not to be a French child football fan right now. I might be destroyed. Can you imagine heading to the training session to get some pictures, maybe an autograph and seeing that unfold?
I’m thinking of sending a telegram:
France National Team: [stop]
I regret to inform you that we are breaking up. [stop] At least my true loves the Azzurri aren’t a hot mess. [stop] Be better at life next time. [stop]