The debate rages on in this morning’s papers over France’s controversial win against Ireland which saw les Bleus qualify for the World Cup. Should there be a rematch because of a handball by Thierry Henry? The French press is divided.
This morning’s papers are dominated by the fallout of Wednesday’s France-Ireland match. Sports paper l’Equipe has dramatically called for Raymond Domenech’s resignation. The deeply unpopular French manager is ‘separating les Bleus from their fans’. The paper insists this is not a populist move and that Domenech is simply unsuited to the role. In 1998, the paper made the mistake of calling for Aimé Jacquet to resign yet the same year his French side won the World Cup. L’Equipe insists this time, it’s right for the manager to go.
“France must accept the Irish request and replay the match,” says this morning’s editorial in Libération. This is a big deal – a mainstream French newspaper calling for a rematch. “Imagine a scenario where the French captain had owned up to the foul and the best team won – that would have had elegance and it would have had panache.”
The editorial in the Catholic paper la Croix harks back to the 1982 semi-final of the French Open. A young Swedish player, Mats Wilander, was declared the winner yet the umpire had made a mistake. The final shot by his opponent was declared out when Wilander noticed it had, in fact, been in. He set the umpire straight and still went on to win the match and two days later, the French Open final. This, the paper says, is an example of fair play and Wilander held onto that sportsmanlike reputation for the rest of his career. If Henry had done likewise, it would have been an “elegant move” but he bore the responsibility of France’s accession to the World Cup on his shoulders, the paper points out.
“Malaise” (unease) is Le Parisien’s headline. Inside, the paper says the chances of the match being replayed are virtually nil unless the French Football Federation supports Ireland’s request and that is highly unlikely.
France Soir’s headline is so French it would take a paragraph to explain but I’ll try in two sentences! “Cocoricouc” is a mix of “cocorico” – the sound that a cock (French national emblem) makes – and ‘couac’ which means blunder. So unpacked, this headline means “the blunder of the cocks”. I think Irish supporters would agree with that…
Other stories in today’s French papers:
Herman van Rompuy becomes the first President of Europe