FRANCE (1 VS ) SOUTH AFRICA (2)
OUTGOING France coach Raymond Domenech admitted he felt “a great sadness” after his side crashed out of the World Cup in ignominy with defeat to hosts South Africa.
In a humiliating campaign, dogged by controversy and infighting, Les Bleus finished bottom of Group A with just one goal and one point to show from their three matches.
And it spelt an unhappy end for coach Domenech, who bowed out in shame after six years with former captain Laurent Blanc waiting in the wings to replace him.
Domenech was left to explain a disastrous campaign which saw his squad refuse to train on Sunday in protest after striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home following a bust-up with the 58-year-old coach.
The squad later regrouped, thanks to intervention from president Nicolas Sarkozy, but Domenech wouldn’t let the matter lie and yesterday dropped captain Patrice Evra for his role in leading the boycott.
But it just got worse for the French as goals from Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela, either side of a straight red card for Yohan Gourcuff, compounded their misery and deemed Florent Malouda’s late strike as mere consolation.
“I feel great sadness at what has happened not only for myself but for the French people,” said Domenech.
“Like everybody we’re sad and disappointed even if in that game I saw a bit of what I expected from that team, some heart, generosity and solidarity.
He added: “This is not the time to analyse what happened. This team have true potential. There were extraordinary moments and there will be more. The France team will never die. They will carry on.”
Domenech’s tenure ended under an even bigger cloud when he refused to shake the hand of South African counterpart Carlos Alberto Parreira at the final whistle following a touchline altercation.