Published 22/06/2010 | 05:00
BELEAGUERED France manager Raymond Domenech has admitted that some of his players may boycott this afternoon's World Cup clash with South Africa, the game which is likely to spell the end of Les Bleus' turbulent involvement in the competition.
As the fall-out from the French Football Federation's decision to send Nicolas Anelka home from the competition intensified, Domenech told a press conference that he backed his employers' judgment and attacked the "imbecility" of his squad for refusing to train on Sunday.
The French boss had been left in the awkward position of reading a statement on the players' behalf, which was critical of the FFF's actions.
"It is a possibility," said Domenech, when asked if some players may not want to play in the Bloemfontein game, which the French need to win comfortably to have any chance of qualification for the next round.
"We will have to take it into account when I compose the team with my staff," he added, with captain Patrice Evra, who has voiced his displeasure at the culmination of the Anelka dispute, noticeably absent from the pre-match formalities.
"The sanction was absolutely justified and I fully support the Federation's decision (to send Anelka home)," continued Domenech, who was called a "son of a whore" by the Chelsea striker in a half-time stand-off during the 2-0 defeat to Mexico. "Nobody can allow himself to behave that way."
France can only progress to the round of 16 with a comfortable win over the Bafana Bafana and for there to be a winner in the Rustenburg meeting of Mexico and Uruguay. If that encounter finishes in a draw, then Domenech's charges are eliminated regardless of what happens in their game.
FFF secretary Henri Monteil last night poured scorn on suggestions that all players wanted to strike, insinuating that there were three or four leaders at the head of the mob.
"Some players went to see Domenech in their room. They were crying, saying they were sorry for what happened," he said.
"Anyway, the three or four leaders are players who are on the way out, who will never play in a World Cup again. Who are they? (William) Gallas, (Eric) Abidal, maybe (Thierry) Henry, who is friends with Anelka."