PARIS - The French press heaped scorn and derision on the national football team (Les Bleus) on Monday after players boycotted a training session in South Africa to protest against the expulsion of one of their group.
In a rare show of unanimity, national and regional newspapers lined up to denounce the players, team coach Raymond Domenech and the French football federation, for a crisis that all agreed had brought shame to the sport and the nation.
Here is round-up of some of reaction:
"A rebellion? No, a caprice. A strike? No, cowardliness. Don't deceive yourself. The republican solidarity that our players showed the world yesterday is an illusion.
"The [football federation] has created a farce; its froth is is just a stink bomb that keeps on exploding.
"Patrice Evra has once and for all shown that he has muddled up the role of captain with that of a gang leader.
"Raymond Domenech, by lending a hand to this masquerade and reading out himself the players' statement, has missed his final opportunity to show some style and courage."
"Everyday, 'les Bleus' push back the frontiers of the unacceptable ... This band of spoilt children, left free to do what they like by their entire hierarchy, has no limit, no sense of duty so close to the match against South Africa.
"To have the worst soccer team at the World Cup was already unbearable. To also have the most stupid is intolerable ... The mutiny at Knysna will forever remain the Waterloo of French soccer."
"It is collective suicide ... the French team has heaped ridicule on itself in front of the whole world yesterday at Knysna. The 'field of dreams' became the set of a living nightmare. It was almost hallucinatory. This is a psychodrama that will go down in the history of the World Cup. The French team has been reduced to ashes."
"If this charade has a guilty partner (Nicolas Anelka), and culprits (all those 'striking' players who do not merit their salary, nor the chance to ply the profession that they dreamt of doing as children), there is also someone who is responsible for all this: the coach of the French soccer team.
"We take them to be role models for kids who have lost their way in life, but in reality they are just bling-bling traders for a sport which yesterday lost a lot of credit in France."
LE PROGRES DE LYON
"They should have contented themselves with being bad on the pitch and arrogant off it as they already have been for a few years. Honestly, they amaze us ... (no doubt) they can do even worse."
LES DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE.
"In a certain way France has already made a success of the 2010 World Cup History will remember only two teams from this World Cup: that of the winning country and also perhaps France ... 'les Bleus' [have shown] great mastery of a worldwide scandal. A triumph!"
"Too much is too much! The spectacle made by this team of multi-millionaires is a disgrace to all French people."
LA REPUBLIQUE DU CENTRE
"We are no longer in the presence of nasty brats ... but of professional sportsmen not worthy of wearing the French national colours."
"Clearly nothing can be expected of 'Les Bleus'. Their achievements are shameful: France is the laughing stock of the world."comments