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. Rusty Hughes

    Please get along

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EmbarrassedAmerican

    I'm embarrassed to be an American. The World Cup really highlights how ignorant my fellow Americans are about anything that doesn't have the U.S. taking 1st. I trust the world will not assume all Americans are sadly misinformed and lack culture and education. I enjoy watching fine sporting events, even if America is not involved or winning!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Winter

      Quit your apologizing, you sound like Obama. There are plenty of Americans who are watching and enjoying the World Cup!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • will

      Yes, sadly there are many ignorant people. I have met many good Americans but unfortunately these few people making us look bad.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • OARFNY

      You sure you're an American? You sound French.

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

      I'm embarrassed by self-loathing Americans. Every country has its share of imbeciles, but none waste the amount of time and energy that (usually left-of center) Americans do on mea culpas. It's nothing but insecurity and a desired to be liked by groups of people that typically have bigger social, economic and ignorance problems than we do.

      On the issue of soccer/football, I hate the MLS and the lower leagues, but I could watch the World Cup caliber teams 24 hours a day. The way Spain moves the ball around is mesmerizing. As a hockey guy, however, I can't even begin to describe how disgusted I am that Domenech wouldn't shake hands. What a friggin' froggy thing to do!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Msterling

      Please die or move to another country. I'm sure the frogs would embrace your pathetic Anti-US dribble with open arms.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fermelabouche

      You should be ashamed of yourself. Be a proud American or leave already. The French coach acted disgracefully. The reason Americans come out on top so often is because they believe in themselves. Get over it.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      No kidding, he does sound like Obama. America has plenty to apologize for (Due to our corrupt politicians) but soccer is not one of them...

      June 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Obvious

    France loses. Everyone should be used to hearing this by now.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mariposa

      It's only the truth!

      June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. EmbarrassedAmerican

    And no, just because you can speak English or type without spelling mistakes does not make you a smarter/better person. Pointing out spelling errors is tasteless and you should feel ashamed of yourself for having no class. I commend all those who have invested their time in learning a foreign language and are trying to write about something they are passionate about.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mariposa

      Blah, blah, blah!

      June 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Blah, Blah, Blah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about a whiner!!!!!

      You wouldn't know what an American was / is is it bit you on the A#@!!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FrenchyinCalifornia

    am French and soooo glad South Africa beat our cheating looser of a team. It was fun to root for the Bafana Bafana. What a bunch of brat whiners. Shouldn't have been there and deserved a butt kicking. Yes, my country's team is a disgrace, a shameful display of what is wrong with professional sports, with corrupted idiots. And I bet you anything most of them are doped. I have hope for the future as Laurent Blanc was a great guy back Then.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. me

    Haha I'm glad France lost. They're nothin but a bunch of cheaters anyways....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. amina

    GO WORLD I love suppoting all the little countries that have wonderful players I wish all qualifying countires the best of luck.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J DOG7.62mm

    This whole sport is gay

    June 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • hoover

      I assume you are a fan of that loser sport called "football" where the name does not pertain to the sport.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • OARFNY

      Hoover? I assume you are a vacuum cleaner?

      June 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunyabidness

      @hoover....you mean that game that starts with a FOOT kicking a BALL?? Yea, you're right, the name doesn't pertain to it at all...so please, tell me how 'soccer' is a more appropriate sport name?

      June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • azma

      I'm sure that you would have a hard time liking a thinking man's game, you know one where you have to figure out where to go and what to do without a huddle.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Curmudgeon

    Well, after all, they are Frenchmen.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JANGOMAN

    GHANA OUR LAST HOPE.RAISE HIGH THE FLAG.THE BLACK SHINNING IN THE SKY
    TRASH THE GERMAN TEAM TILL WE GRAB THE WORLD CUP.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    its sad that even though south africa won this game they are still out well they put on a great show the bafana bafana will do better next time 😀

    June 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cwebsNSENSE

    That coach is a poor sportsman and should be ashamed of his actions, but probaly too arrogant to realize what a jerk he is!!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mariposa

      That's the Frogs!

      June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sean

    Once again, France surrenders, and goes down in disgraceful defeat.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mariposa

      Could anything else be expected?

      June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nygiants4ever

    Maybe South Africa can threaten to invade France and then the whole country can raise the white flag and surrender just like their football team did......

    June 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sam

    Google "french football victories" and it says "Did you mean to search for french football defeats?"

    June 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
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