Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

France

Sarkozy summons ministers to discuss World Cup debacle

Video by Armen GEORGIAN

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-23

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will hold a government meeting on Wednesday to discuss France's disastrous premature exit from the World Cup. He will also meet veteran French striker Thierry Henry on Thursday at the player's request.

AFP - France's shamed World Cup squad faced the wrath of President Nicolas Sarkozy, the press and a furious public on Wednesday after a disastrous exit from the tournament in South Africa.

The players were due to fly back to a humiliated country that has largely written them off as spoiled millionaires led by an incompetent coach and unworthy of the blue jersey worn by the 1998 world champions.

France is so angry that Sarkozy, who had been hoping a good showing from the team might cheer a country facing difficult economic times, has called a meeting of government ministers to discuss the defeat.

Portrait

"Those responsible for this disaster must accept the consequences, first the players, then the team management and after them the football federation," sports minister Roselyne Bachelot said on Europe 1 radio.

Sarkozy has not spoken publicly on the French campaign -- which was marked by two defeats, one draw, a player strike, dressing room squabbles and a single goal -- but his government's spokesman expressed fury.

"For me, as a supporter of the team, I'm obviously very disappointed. As a citizen I'm truly indignant by what has gone on, and as minister for education I am terribly angry," Luc Chatel told Canal Plus television.

Chatel said the squad had lacked "respect, team spirit, pride and enough dignity to wear the shirt of any club, from the smallest local side to that of the French national team."

The minister singled out French coach Raymond Domenech for criticism, citing in particular his unsportsmanlike refusal to shake the hand of the South African manager after the final defeat as a bad example to younger players.

He also attacked the outgoing team captain, Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, for his part in a players' strike on Sunday, when the team refused to train in protest at the sacking of striker Nicolas Anelka.

Anelka was substituted midway through France's defeat at the hands of Mexico and later sent home after it was reported the he had responded to Domenech's half-time team talk with an obscene rant.

This in turn led Evra and other players to accuse an un-named "traitor" in the camp of betraying Anelka to the press.

Tens of thousands of French fans across the country booed the players during Tuesday's broadcast of their limp 2-1 defeat, even cheering ironically when South Africa scored, and the press was no kinder.

Several newspapers noted that France had only qualified for the finals in the first place by "cheating" Ireland of its place when striker Thierry Henry handled the ball before their winning goal in a qualifying match.

"France is not ready to forgive," declared the popular Le Parisien, while the influential sports daily l'Equipe demanded that the government step in to reform the French Football Federation, which it said is run by "clowns".

Henry is flying back to France separately from the rest of his team mates and will meet Sarkozy on Thursday, having requested a private audience. The rest of the squad were to fly back late in the night and arrive early Thursday.

Meanwhile, the airwaves were filling with outraged commentators and call-in listeners, criticising everything from the team's lack of patriotism -- many failed to sing the national anthem -- to the players' level of education.

Few of the players have responded to the criticism, but midfielder Florent Malouda -- the sole Frenchman to have found the back of the net -- denied that the team was made up of "hooligans".

"Me, I'll stay on. We have a responsibility to rebuild what we have destroyed," he told Le Parisien, promising that the players would work better with Domenech's replacement, Laurent Blanc.

Date created : 2010-06-23

  • WORLD CUP 2010

    French press glad to see back of disgraced team

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP

    French team debacle prompts soul-searching back home

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP 2010

    Fractured French team in critical clash against hosts

    Read more

COMMENT(S)