23 June 2010
France have been eliminated from the World Cup after losing 2-1 to hosts South Africa. But what has shocked French fans even more is the way in which the team self-destructed before the match.
Click to hear the report:
The French fans flooded into the fan zone this afternoon, beneath the Eiffel Tower, hoping for a miracle, dreading exactly what they got. Another dismal performance, a red card, a second defeat for a side that has literally imploded in recent days.
On Sunday, in full view of the international media, France's training session descended into farce, over the expulsion of the disgraced striker Nicolas Anelka. The players left the field refusing to practise, the team director later resigned in disgust. For the fans here in France it's been an excruciating week. Some are incredulous at what has happened.
"Surprised, surprised, ashamed, many feelings."
"I love the sport, I love the spirit of sport. And I think we lost it this year. I think the sprit of football go away and that's very, very bad."
The inquiry into what happened has already begun. The root of it, of course, the disharmony in the camp. Some blame the manager, others the rigid leadership of the French Federation, out of touch, say the critics, with the demands of the professional game.
Elimination from the World Cup is always painful but never before can a team have faced the sort of recriminations to which this team is now returning. And spare a thought for that new French manager, Lauren Blanc, who will inherit all this mess, and must now build from what talent he has left a team that is worthy of the blue shirt.
Christian Fraser, BBC News, Paris
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- hoping for a miracle, dreading exactly what they got
wishing that something almost impossible would happen but being frightened of what, in the end, actually happened
- literally imploded
actually failed suddenly and was completely unable to operate or work together
- descended into farce
quickly became a silly or meaningless situation
- the expulsion of
the sending home of
- resigned in disgust
left his position as director because he disapproved and disliked the situation
- are incredulous
- out of touch
not aware of what is current and of how people act today (in football)
arguments between people who are blaming each other
- inherit all this mess
start to have responsibility for a problem or situation that previously existed or belonged to another person