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France

New France coach Blanc picks up the pieces of a shattered team

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-06-24

France’s new football coach Laurent Blanc has a tough job ahead of him in restoring some honour to “Les Bleus” after their catastrophic World Cup experience.

 

New France coach Laurent Blanc has a huge job ahead of him in putting "Les Bleus" back on track after their disastrous World Cup performance.
 
Blanc, who until now has been coaching at Bordeaux, can at least begin his task with the backing of a nation tired of the childish antics of its football team.
 
But above all, Blanc – who played in the squad that took home the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000 titles – is not Raymond Domenech.
 
Nevertheless, the man nicknamed "The President" from his playing days at Marseille is set for a rough ride as he prepares the French team for Euro 2010, with the first qualifying games in September.
 
His biggest task is to restore the faith of the nation, which was sorely tested during the South African debacle.
 
It is no easy job. As France's former French Open champion Yannick Noah reflected, “How can one love a team who doesn't love you?”  
 
Reasserting authority
 
Blanc will also be charged with fixing a breakdown in communication between the coach and the media, which reached its unhappy nadir under Domenech.
  
He will also have to reassert a coach's authority over the players. And here there is cause for concern – Bordeaux's season ended in a damp squib without even a Champions League place and rumours of discord among the players.
  
Blanc will have to use his credibility as a decorated former player to deflate some egos, and perhaps throw out several of the team’s troublemakers, to impose his authority from the start.
  
The most delicate personnel problem will be that involving Nicolas Anelka, whose expulsion from the team after a foul-mouthed outburst at Domenech proved the catalyst for the team’s widely derided refusal to train ahead of their World Cup match against hosts South Africa.
  
Blanc could also take firm action against Patrice Evra and even playmaker Franck Ribery if he is to purge the bitter taste left over from the team’s South African misadventure.
  
Evra's search for the "traitor" in the camp who leaked the story of the Anelka-Domenech clash to the public led to him being described by top-selling French sports daily L'Equipe as not having the charisma to captain France and being more like “the leader of a street gang”.
 

 

Date created : 2010-06-24

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