The French soccer team’s drama at this World Cup just keeps growing. Before the games even started several players were involved in an underage prostitution scandal. Then Nicolas Anelka is sent home following a bust up with Raymond Domenech (see previous post). Now the team is refusing to train following an argument that took place between Domenech and strength coach Robert Duverne. In addition to the team refusing to train, World Cup team director Jean-Louis Valentin has resigned from the French Football Federation.
This is just completely crazy. When France does poorly they really know how to go down in flames. It is amazing, and even more tumultuous than World Cup 2002, when they failed to win a game in the group stage. This previous failure came 4 years after they won the title in 1998. The current drama comes just 4 years after they lost the final on PKs to the Italians (who aren’t looking particularly good this year either). If France doesn’t advance from the group stage, which is looking increasingly likely, they are getting what they deserve. The players are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. No doubt, the coaching staff must take some of the blame for the poor performance but ultimately the players are the ones on the pitch. If the French spent half as much effort playing as they do acting like prima donnas they would easily have won both of their games. The French are a group of selfish but very talented players who just can’t seem to get it together. The Danes are a shining example of what a team that plays together can do. They qualified for the World Cup at the top of a very tough group, one that also contained Sweden, Portugal and Hungary, and are in position with a win versus Japan to advance from a tough group that also contained Cameroon and the Netherlands. I don’t think you would get any argument that the French players are, on the whole, more talented than the Danes, but sometimes the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts and sometimes it can be less than the sum of its parts.