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Revolting French hit back over shame of drubbing

Rarely can a country have greeted its own national team's humiliation in the World Cup with such grim satisfaction.

Under the headline "Les imposteurs", the French national sports daily L'Equipe yesterday begged its readers to "shed no tears" for the France team defeated 2-0 by Mexico on Thursday night. "No sadness, no misery, not even any anger," said L'Equipe.

"That would be to give too much to these men who don't know how to give anything."

The French team, runners-up last time and winners in 1998, were already deeply unpopular in France before two limp, goalless performances against Uruguay and Mexico.

In the run-up to the World Cup finals there have been scandals involving visits by three players to a 16-year-old prostitute and rifts in the squad.


France's manner of qualifying last November -- a blatant double handball by Thierry Henry just before an equalising goal against Ireland -- has left a bad taste in the mouth of many French football fans.

This, however, is nothing to the taste that it left in the mouths of the Irish. The victory for Mexico -- which all but removes France from the competition -- was greeted ecstatically in the bars of Dublin by dancing, sombrero-wearing fans, who were dressed in the green of Mexico, not Ireland.

One Irish newspaper spoke for the nation when it wrote: "The Republic of Ireland may not be in South Africa but supporters of the Boys in Green will have savoured France's defeat to Mexico last night, a result that leaves Raymond Domenech's side staring at the prospect of saying an early 'au revoir' to the 2010 World Cup."

In French, Le Parisien said: "These Blues have nothing much left to do in South Africa," said . Its banner front-page headline read: "Lamentable".