With the feuding French world cup squad providing more entertainment off the field than on it, – for anyone not French that is- France’s president has stepped in to try and calm things down.
The sight of striking team players, a bickering captain and coach and a disgraced Nicolas Anelka being sent home after allegedly foul-mouthing the manager, the government’s sports minister was sent to read the riot act to all concerned.
Roselyne Bachelot, who was already in South Africa stepped up to the spot and took aim: “I told the players it’s your children, for whom perhaps you will no longer be heroes, the dreams of your friends, partners and fans are perhaps broken. It is the image of France which you have tarnished”, she said.
Not exactly the best of team talks to motivate the lads before their crucial match against the host nation, but one which may have hit home.
However, French supporters are angry at their team’s behaviour.
“As a French team supporter I have a hard time listening to all these stories. We’re not proud to wear French team jersey today”, said one fan.
“All players, of any country, would dream of coming here and play at the World Cup, even with a broken arm or leg… And they pretend to be so special”, complained another.
Meanwhile back in Paris the French media has mounted its own four-three-three formation attack against the players. Words such as “shambles”, “deserters”, and “mutineers” fill the front pages as “Les Bleues” are told to hang their heads in shame.