France make a mockery of their World Cup participation

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
thierry henry handball

Thierry Henry's now infamous handball against the Republic of Ireland

The shambolic state of France’s World Cup campaign will undoubtedly have left Ireland supporters struggling to hold back a wry snigger.

French participation in South Africa appeared doomed before the tournament even began. The now infamous Thierry Henry handball against the Republic of Ireland in Paris on 18 November almost triggered an historic amendment to the FIFA constitution.

The cries of injustice and crusades to Sepp Blatter’s office door were in vain and Ireland fans were left to make do with an apology from the disgraced French forward.

Just after the tournament got underway, Florent Malouda clashed with manager Raymond Domenech before France’s opening match against Uruguay. Arguably the only in form player in the squad, the Chelsea man was left to reflect upon the error of his ways until the 80th minute, when he was brought on.

Following their goalless opener, another inept performance led to a 2-0 loss to Mexico. Emotions—inevitably—erupted.

Thierry Henry stormed out of the Polokwane stadium after failing to make an impact during their defeat to Mexico. A “traitor” within the squad revealed that a half-time spat between Domenech and Nicolas Anelka had resulted in the substitution of the Cheslea forward.

Anelka allegedly insulted the French manager with the French Football Federation afterwards opting to send the forward home. It is an incident similar to the Saipan episode of 2002 which saw the then Ireland manager Mick McCarthy dismiss Roy Keane following an ill-advised comment to the boss.

The latest instalment of drama occurred at an open training session yesterday when, in front of the watching media, captain Patrice Evra became embroiled in a sensational bust-up with France fitness coach Robert Duverne.

Evra told Duverne that the players were taking Anelka’s side and were boycotting training, leading to a heated argument between the pair.

The defender skulked back to the team coach while Domenech attempted to calm Duverne.

So France’s World Cup ambitions are in tatters, their fate out of their hands.

But whilst the crushing defeat last Thursday was a surely victory for the green of Mexico and Ireland alike, for the Irish it must be difficult not to look back and ask: what if?

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
ATP Awards: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic headline nominees again, but fresh names emerge
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
The Sport Review
Paul Scholes: Liverpool FC are ‘laughing’ at Man United
The Sport Review
Paul Merson discusses what Eden Hazard needs to improve at Chelsea FC
The Sport Review
Michael Carrick sends message to Man United fans about Jose Mourinho