The players 'don't give a damn', the French FA is run by 'headless chickens'

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The Independent Online

The French media went on the attack after the national team's dismal performance against Mexico on Thursday night that puts them on the brink of going out of the World Cup.

L'Equipe, the country's biggest sports daily, ran with the headline "Les Imposteurs" – which speaks for itself even without translation.

"The ineffectiveness of the team contradicts all the speeches held by [coach] Raymond Domenech and the players on their strength of character and their capacity to react," said the paper. "This morning, France contemplates a field of ruins: its national team.

"The 'Je-m'en-foutisme' ('I don't give a damn-ism') is their flag, the only banner this team can carry together. Let's mock Raymond Domenech, so full of himself, overcome by his players' egos.

"Laugh about these major players Franck Ribéry, William Gallas, Nicolas Anelka, who believe themselves so superior, and their arrogance. Supported by a federation who should wear a headless chicken as a symbol, they deserve indifference."

France were "wiped clean" by their "Aztec conquerors", according to Liberation, while Le Figaro reflects Patrice Evra's withering assessment that France are "a small team, very affected by defeat".

Le Parisien went with the simple "France humiliated by Mexico", while Provence opted for "Shame on the Blues".

Also unsurprising was the schadenfreude emanating from Ireland. The Republic lost in the play-off to reach South Africa after striker Thierry Henry's handball led to the decisive goal which put France through.

"Supporters of the Boys in Green will have savoured France's defeat to Mexico last night, a result that leaves Raymond Domenech's side staring at the prospect of saying an early au revoir to the 2010 World Cup," said the Irish Examiner. "Few will shed any tears at their current plight. To add to the delight of those of a bitter disposition, there was more than a hint of controversy about the second-half goal that put Mexico on the road to victory last night. Few will sympathise though, as it seems that what goes round does indeed occasionally come round."

Former players joined in the attacking of the team. "The France team plays in the image of its coach," former France winger Robert Pires said on French television. "He's not good, we're not good."

If Uruguay and Mexico draw their final Group A game on Tuesday, France are out even if they beat South Africa.

Evra had predicted France could win the competition and spoke proudly about team spirit even though the players hardly spoke to each other on the field. The former France defender Bixente Lizarazu said Evra's comments merely served to "hide that things were not going well."

France have won only four out of 12 matches in three major tournaments under Domenech. France have not won any of their last five games in major tournaments, scoring just one goal and conceding eight.

France's surprise run to the 2006 World Cup final came only after the return from retirement by Zinedine Zidane. The midfielder Patrick Vieira protected the defence four years ago and was in Domenech's squad for the 2008 European Championship but Domenech overlooked him this time, even though he was fit. A lack of on-field leadership was evident against Mexico.

"Maybe they've reached the point where they don't know what they should do anymore," Vieira said.

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