If the French World Cup team’s antics over the weekend are any indicator of how seriously the players are taking tomorrow’s match against South Africa, then they might as well pack up their berets and baguettes and head back to Paris. On Saturday, French coach Raymond Domenech kicked striker Nicolas Anelka off the team after the two exchanged heated words, presumably in pretentious accents.
Anelka’s removal from the squad caused the rest of the team to boycott yesterday’s training session, prompting team director Jean-Louis Valentin to quit the team because he was “sickened and disgusted.” He was so visibly angered that not even a mime pretending to slip on a banana peel could cheer him up. The players, however, are maintaining that the French
Soccer Football Federation didn’t have their backs and allowed Anelka to be kicked off the team without hearing their side. This marks the most fighting by French men since 1763.
Explain the merits of Existentialism to me, ESPN Soccernet:
“The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. They took a decision uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players decided not to take part in today’s training session.”
Evra and the players, en masse, boarded the team bus and drew the curtains.
Winger Franck Ribery further spoke of the embarrassing nature of this internal squabble, telling reporters, “The whole world is mocking us right now,” which caused everyone in the world to erupt with laughter. The ordeal is unusual because France was just two penalty goals short of winning the World Cup in 2006. However, that Finals appearance was marred by the antics of Zinedine Zidane, who was ejected for head-butting Italy’s Marco Materazzi, making Zidane the second manliest Frenchman of all-time, behind only Joan of Arc.
Despite their problems, the French still have a strong chance to advance with a win over host country South Africa. As long as Mexico and Uruguay don’t play to a draw, France can potentially advance and further the team’s hopes of really humiliating themselves.