Sunday, June 20, 2010

The French farce

Another day, another catastrophe for the French team — and it didn't even play!

Let's recap the past few months, shall we? Because things actually started going wrong before the World Cup. First, we qualified in a shameful manner on a hand-assisted goal against Ireland. In April, three players were named in a prostitution scandal — and with an underage prostitute at that. One of them was Franck Ribéry, one of the team's leaders. Then secretary of state for sport Rama Yade accused Les Bleus of having picked a prohibitively expensive resort in South Africa, sending an obnoxious signal to French people hit by the recession back home.

The competition started, and we drew a 0-0 tie against Uruguay in the opening game. Then we lost 2-0 against Mexico in a display that can only be described as pathetic.

Yesterday, it surfaced that the reason Nicolas Anelka didn't play the second half against Mexico isn't that he sucked — which he did — but that he insulted coach Raymond Domenech at halftime, and Domenech pulled him out of the team. Anelka was put on the next plane back home. Right away, the players started a witch hunt to figure out who talked to the press about Anelka's outburst. Captain Evra said "The problem isn't Nicolas Anelka, it's the traitor among us. It's someone who wants to hurt the French team."

Today, that team went rogue.

The players picked their camp: They openly revolted against Domenech and refused to practice, in solidarity with Anelka! The fitness coach — who had heatedly denied being the traitor — got into a screaming match with Evra about the aborted practice, threw either his accreditation badge or his stopwatch (accounts diverge) on the ground and stormed off. The team's technical director, reportedly fighting back tears, quit and announced he was returning to France: "I'm ashamed. I'm sick, disgusted, I'm leaving my job, what happened here is a scandal."

What could possibly happen tomorrow?


Joan said...

I did see that clip--ABC played it in the pre-game, Holey moley. Am I crazy, or is the level of ridiculousness augmented by the fact that the fitness coach seemed to be having his tantrum on a golf course?

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

I think they were on the practice pitch. You could also say they were in the third circle of hell, the one where they sent overrated, overpaid prima donnas.