French media lambast Deschamps men for "nightmare" performance
The French media and public are hugely critical of the national team, with 89.7% of readers of Le Parisien believing France will not qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil
The French papers have attacked the "ineptitude" of the national football team after Les Bleus suffered a 2-0 defeat in Kiev against Ukraine in the first leg of their World Cup playoff.
There seemed to be little expectation going into the match against a team ranked, as Le Monde noted, "alongside France by Fifa", and the resignation among the media shows a lack of belief that the deficit can be turned around in Tuesday's return leg.
In a piece headline "Les Bleus in a nightmare", L'Equipe said there will always be hope, "but in terms of what we saw on riday night, reverse would be almost miraculous. The French would do well just to draw the second leg."
The article went on to ask if this performance was "the worst in history". "Most disturbing was that the influence of Franck Ribery was reduced to nothing. His teammates did not take advantage of the tight marking which he faced all match."
To make matters worse, France will have to do without Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny for the second leg, after he was sent off in the closing stages. "A real black evening to forget," concluded L'Equipe.
Le Monde seemed to place the blame on the Premier League players. "Didier Deschamps opted for no fewer than seven residents of the England 'elite' players. It was supposed to be a device to make the difference from the word go, with Samir Nasri as the playmaker." The team selection did not work, the article did not need to point out.
Le Monde saw little reason for optimism, with France due to host Euro 2016. "The task is very complicated at the Stade de France. Ukraine is a team that travel well, and France will have to blow up one of Europe's tightest defences to book their plane tickets to Brazil. Otherwise, they will prepare for two and a half years of friendly matches as the only prospect of Euro 2016. As host country, they are automatically qualified and therefore exempt from qualifiers."
The potentially disastrous defeat came two days before the 20th anniversary of one of France's most famous losses. "For France, present at the finals of international competitions since 1996, lurks the spectre of the famous elimination against Bulgaria [in 1993]," the night that sparked the reinvention of French football that would lead to triumph at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
The final word to the French public, who were posed the following question by Le Parisien: Do you believe France will qualify for the World Cup. 15,810 votes have been cast - 89.7pc have said no.