Former France coach disgusted by French attitude

Former France manager Raymond Domenech.
Former France manager Raymond Domenech. Photo: PA

Former France coach Raymond Domenech has criticised the current national team for a lack of unity and an absence of leadership after their exit from Euro 2012.

Domenech, who led his country for six years from 2004, said the players were far too interested in themselves than the group as a whole and called for a change in France's approach to tournaments.

France exited the competition at the hands of defending champions Spain in Saturday's quarter-final but rumblings of discontent had begun before that, when they lost their final group game to the already-eliminated Sweden.

"A major tournament reveals the strength of a group, a generation," said the 60-year-old, who had his own problems during a shambolic World Cup 2010 campaign in South Africa when the squad refused to train after Nicolas Anelka was disciplined.

"(Euro 2012) showed the full extent of (France's) weaknesses, the most glaring being their inability to see anything other than their navel.

"The leaders have disappeared. Patrice Evra (who was dropped after their opening draw with England despite being captain) remained on the bench, Florent Malouda, spokesman for the team, finished the Euros without further impact in the media and especially not in the field.

"Being beaten by the champions of the world is not dishonourable but it is not without envy.

"To remedy this, we must change our philosophy of sports education and place the group in the centre of the training of future French professionals - as do the Spaniards."

The majority of France's key players failed to perform in Poland and Ukraine.

It produced the predictable recriminations, with Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri coming under fire from coach Laurent Blanc for swearing at a journalist after the defeat.

However, Domenech felt there were a several others who failed to live up to expectations.

"Nasri has been the visible symbol. Karim Benzema himself has shown that playing at Real (Madrid) is much easier, for a simple reason," he wrote in his column for newspaper Ouest-France.

"His game requires support in the penalty area. For France, he is alone. He wanted to be the saviour - it was mission impossible.

"The case of Franck Ribery is symptomatic of the mood. Franck has been affected by his desire to live up to his image.

"Finally, the substitutes. They either strengthen the team or they destroy it: Jeremy Menez can start a demolition company, he will make a fortune.

"There were those that were expected (to perform) - they were disappointed - and others who have had no reaction, which is equally inexcusable."