June 22nd, 2010
12:02 PM ET

South Africa beats France; both ousted from World Cup

It hasn’t been a storybook World Cup for the French – unless it’s a horror story.

After failing to prove in their first two games that they are one of FIFA’s top 10 teams, Les Bleus were summarily sent home from the Cup on Tuesday by the host, South Africa. Though hosts typically enjoy home-field advantages,
French media and fans will be reluctant to overlook that Bafana Bafana was ranked 83rd in the world when it took the pitch.

Following first-half goals from defender Bongani Khumalo and striker Katlego Mphela, South Africa played tight defense to hold on to a 2-1 win. France’s best effort came late in the 70th minute when a stint of dazzling passing ended with a Florent Malouda goal.

France could muster no more – and with that, the 2006 World Cup runner-up saw its ticket back to Paris stamped. South Africa also failed to qualify for the second round after Mexico advanced via a tiebreaker based on goals.

At the final whistle an angry coach Raymond Domenech refused to shake hands with South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and he later told reporters: "The overriding emotion is one of sadness.

"We would have liked the dream to have continued. I shook hands with the players because we have been through some difficult times together. We need to be dignified in victory and defeat."

Back in France, Les Bleus will almost certainly be met with boos and hissing as the team's run-up to Tuesday’s last group stage match was on par with a soap opera.

After reports that Domenech used the zodiac to pick his team, criticism erupted that he had left top players – including Arsenal’s Samir Nasri and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema – at home. Several media outlets have taken to calling the French coach “Crazy Ray.”

A halftime locker room argument between Domenech and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka ended with the prolific goal scorer being sent home after France's 2-0 loss against Mexico. Anelka's teammates later refused to practice in protest, and before Tuesday’s game, Domenech benched star defender Patrice Evra and stripped him of his captain’s armband. Domenech also benched several other star players.

It didn't help team solidarity that the French conditioning coach, as well as French Football Federation Director Jean-Louis Valentin, quit during the group stage.

French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot had been in France attempting to mediate between Domenech and his players. But on Monday night Bachelot told journalists the French players had "tarnished the image of France," according to French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

Domenech further said that his players' decision to strike was "unspeakably stupid." He called their actions "an aberration and an imbecility."

The group stage saga, of course, follows the infamous “hand of frog" incident, in which a handball by striker Thierry Henry resulted in a French goal that booted the Irish national team from the tournament.

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soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. steve505

    Wait.... the French actually played their game today? I thought they got nervous and stayed home...

    June 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jeff

    All Whites???? Is this 18555???

    June 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • vwgti303

      Look up the reason they're called that, idiot. It has nothing to do with race.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Havingclassalsomeanslearninghowtospell

      If it is 18555 we've done a good job resisting the invasion of the mutant missing left socks my imaginary friend Jeff told me about.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jeff

    All whites??? What is this 1855???

    June 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. S

    It was exactly the same in 1940. Petain refused to shake handswith Hitler

    June 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    Typical French arrogance rearing it's ugly head once more.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. redmustang03

    Ha that's what you get France for cheating you way into the World Cup. I enjoyed watching the game today and seeing South Africa beat them. You can have all high price players in the world but if you can't

    June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    The french are gutless cowards anyway they backed away from the war on terror in Iraq and Afganistan. I'm not surprised that they acted like this on the pitch. Just think there are americans that actually want to visit france imagine that.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cdcmaximus

    i hate to admiit it but it was very enjoyable to watch the french team and coach......self-destruct.
    for the coach not to shake hands with the RSA coach.....is the cherry on top.
    that's it france.....insult the host country.
    i cant wait to see what happens in 2014.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. patton45

    Doesn't France always surrender?

    June 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    What happened to the tradition of remaining "graceful in victory and defeat..."? The disregard for sportsmanship and basic manners really showed us the ugly side of Domenech.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MAKE MY DAY

    Go home frogs...That's "Payback" for cheating against Ireland!!! YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED!!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brad1001

    The French? .. Defeated? ... Oh Ho Ho .. but of course ...

    June 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SDPhillyIsh

    The spineless toads represented their country in perfect symmetry to the rationale of why they were there to begin with. Hopefully Les Frogs will be better behaved when the Tour de France gets under way.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Denizen Kate

    Is Domenech 12, or what? Someone get him some cheese to go with that vintage French whine. How did he get the coaching job in the first place?

    June 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. momo

    Well, did they recruit soccer players or a bunch of Divas on the French team this time??? hey, you win some, you lose some. Go ARgentina, USA, Brail and Portugal.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
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