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.

See the 10 biggest World Cup upsets | World Cup Coverage | Twitter Buzz

Post by:
Filed under: Sports
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Blake

    Typical French I'd say. Claim honor with their mouths, and cowardice with their actions. I'm sure there are truly honorable Frenchmen out there, but this idiot coach just played into all the French stereotypes/jokes. Bon voyage!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ube

    The poor french that want to lose the label of 'arrogant French' aren't going to be helped by this lowlife. His contradiction is bizarre "We need to be dignified in victory and defeat." How is not shaking the hand of the opposing coach dignified.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charlie

    Not shocking to me. The French are generally rude. Sure there's a few nice ones but 95% are RUDE if you are anything other than French. I manage the accounts for my company in Europe- I spend 4 months a years there, my experience, my opinion.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tim

    Shame on the French team. This whole tournament has been an embarrassment to their country and their fans worldwide. The team quit on the coach and then the coach comes out and does something like this. There is absolutely no class in the French clubhouse. If this was a team that represented my country at the worlds biggest sporting I would be furious.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    How does such an obvious idiot as this French coach is rise to such an important position?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HaveSomeClass

    I don't care how much of a sissy you are, you still shake hands with the opposing team's coach after the game. This is a reflection of the coach's charecter (or lack of).

    June 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Havingclassalsomeanslearninghowtospell

      It's character.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shinerbokk

    He pulled a Lebron James?

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

    It’s just another example proving that the French have no class.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcaros

      Exactly... just like in 2005 when they did that silly little head butt. It was funny because it didn't even hurt and made them look like a bunch of babies.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John R / Tampa

    Refresh my memory. I thought the World Cup was about sport.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tcaros

    Frenchies are a bunch of women. That's why their trousers don't fit me in the crotch. Yves Sain Lauren suits are the worst for tightness- but they fit the French with room to spare.

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

      Please don't insult women that way!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J_Bird_01

    Stereotypical "french surrender monkey". (Next thing he will do is try blaming it all on the failure of the Maginot line.)

    June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Missy

    What a pompous ass!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. American

    Stay classy, France.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pierre

    J'ai rencontré des idiots dans ma vie, mais chacun en écrivant que leurs pensées ici prennent le gâteau. La France est la nation la plus puissante dans le monde et nous ne tolérerons pas vos commentaires. Vous tous attendez juste et voyez. Comment osent vous se moquer de nous pour ne pas serrer de quelqu'un mains. Si ce n'était pas pour le français les alliés n'auraient pas gagné de guerre mondiale deux.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fermezlabouche

      C'est domage! Speak English if you are going to bad mouth. Don't be ashamed.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      " met some idiots in my life, but either by writing their thoughts here take the cake. France is the most powerful nation in the world and we will not tolerate comments. You all just wait and see. How dare you make fun of us for not shaking someone's hands. If it were not for the French allies had not won a world war two."

      I just wanted everyone to see what Pierre wrote he's such a coward he hid behind his language and wouldn't write here in french, typical frenchman.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      LOL! Sarcasm in French! Go Pierre!

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

    AAllll.lllllAll whites?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6