The controversy surrounding the French World Cup is only increasing as the team is now boycotting training. For those in the know, bear with me as I re-cap the illustrious fall of the French Football Federation (FFF):
1. World Cup 2006 – The downfall of team France can be traced back to the World Cup final against Italy. It was a close match and truthfully it could have gone either way. Then Zinedine Zidane made, possibly, the worst decision of his life – “The Headbutt Heard Around the World”. That single action cost France the World Cup. His abscence from the penalty kick was a severe disadvantage to France and allowed Italy to secure victory.
Not only did the incident taint their chances at victory but it also signaled the end of Zidane’s reign with the French international team. From that moment, the French have fallen and they have fallen hard.
2. Euro Cup 2008 – The French posted a disappointing 0-1-2 record after conceding 6 goals in 3 games. The French did not make it past the group stages after a dismal showing against the Netherlands and Italy. This marked the 2nd time in the past decade in which the French failed to make it out of the group stages at a major tournament (2002 – World Cup, 2008 – Euro Cup, 2010 – World Cup?). The FFF should have undergone a major overhaul but they decided to keep their manager, Domenech (Boy was that a terrible decision or what?).
3. World Cup Qualification 2010 – While trying to forge past the disappointment of the Euro Cup result, the French side struggled with their qualification for World Cup 2010. They ultimately finished 2nd in their qualifying group, which forced them into a playoff with Ireland. The playoff would be a two-leg playoff, with matches being played in both home countries. France took the first match 1-0. However, during the second leg, controversy struck as Thierry Henry used a handball to control the ball and eventually score to tie the game. With the tie, France moved on and set the world on fire with distain and disgust over the missed call.
Despite the falling out from the handball, France was in the World Cup and thankful for it. The controversy, however, had just begun.
4. World Cup 2010 – France vs. Mexico - After a lacklustre first half performance, striker Nicolas Anelka was removed from the pitch by manager Domenech. However, the substitution did not sit well with Anelka who has a few choice words for the manager regarding his techniques and tactics. Suffice to say the choice words were not nice ones. With Anelka substituted off, the French side did not fair much better and eventually lost 2-0 to a better Mexico team.
5. World Cup 2010 – Anelka dismissed – Amid the rumblings of the altercation between Anelka and Domenech, came the report that Anelka was sent home because of his actions. The rumours were finally confirmed by the FFF who claimed that Anelka had acted inappropriately and would not take part in any further World Cup events.
This event leads us to the current situation:
6. World Cup 2010 – French team boycott – In an apparent opposition to the Anelka dismissal, the French team has refused to partake in any training. As can be seen in the following video, the team is split and distracted from the actual task at hand:
The thing that I can’t get over is how self-centered and obnoxious Nicolas Anelka - and for that matter the entire team – is. To complain after being taken off from what was a terrible half for Anelka, shows his immaturity, lack of respect and sense of entitlement. The funny thing in this situation was that Domenech went out on a limb for Anelka back in 2008 and invited him back to the French team after being left off the 2006 World Cup French team. This is how you treat the man that single-handedly revived your international career. If I was the FFF I wouldn’t even pay for Anelka’s flight back to France. That spoiled, no-good, excuse for an athlete can find his own way home.
As for the rest of the team, why are you refusing to practice? Domenech is the coach, he makes the decisions. You listen to him or your spot can be replaced – especially after the lacklustre performances in the first two games. If I were Domenech I would sit all the supporters of Anelka and go with a lineup that will work hard and listen to me.
There you have it – the timeline of destruction. With only one final match to go and the likelihood of moving past the group stages slim, it should be interesting how far the team will spiral into oblivion. If anything it’ll make for a good laugh.