Friday 2 December 2016

Timeline of a mutiny

Published 21/06/2010 | 05:00

October: France are seeded in the draw for the World Cup play-offs after finishing behind Serbia in their qualifying group. The unseeded nations protest at perceived bias towards the larger nations. France draw Ireland.

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November: Thierry Henry's handball in the second leg in Paris controversially secures a place in South Africa for Les Bleus. There is embarrassment in France at the manner of their qualification.

March: Henry is booed by his own fans during a friendly match with Spain.

April

Prostitute Zahia Dehar admits that three French players -- Franck Ribery, Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema -- had used her services when she was underage.

May: Domenech leaves Benzema out of his finals squad, and refuses calls to bring back Patrick Vieira. Lassana Diarra is ruled out with injury, while William Gallas is declared a major injury doubt.

June 4: A second-string China side defeat France in their final warm-up, and it's reported that the players do not support the manager's team selections or tactics, with tensions between Nicolas Anelka and Yoann Gourcuff among others. Eric Abidal admits his defensive partnership with Gallas isn't working.

June 6: France's Sports Minister Rama Yade criticises the lavish five-star accommodation where the team will stay during the World Cup, arguing they should have gone for a cheaper option in the prevailing economic climate.

June 10: It is confirmed that Henry will start in the opener with Uruguay on the bench, and French press report that he has rowed with Domenech over his exclusion. Florent Malouda also exchanges angry words with the boss at last training session.

June 11: France produce a flaccid display in a scoreless draw with Uruguay. Malouda is dropped and refuses to back Domenech in the aftermath.

June 16: The build-up to their second game with Mexico is again dominated by reported unrest on the training ground, with Malouda, Gourcuff and Ribery all involved.

June 17: A 2-0 defeat to Mexico means the French need a miracle to stay in the competition. Anelka does not return for second half after calling Domenech 'son of a whore' in half-time row.

June 18: French media report the half-time row, and allege that Ribery and Gourcuff clashed on the plane back from Polokwane to their Knysna base.

June 19: Anelka is sent home by the FFF, with new skipper Patrice Evra blaming a 'traitor' in the French camp for revealing what occurred. Domenech says that an apology could have resolved the situation.

June 20: Chaos. The players refuse to train, forcing Domenech to read a statement that expressed the squad's disgust at the decision to send Anelka home. Evra rows with backroom staff in full view of the cameras, while the team director resigns, and the federation criticise the squad's 'unacceptable conduct'. They promise that a full enquiry will be launched.

Irish Independent

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