Les Bleus take savaging from French press
"France woke up looking at a field of ruins - the national team - with a lump in their throat, a few tears in their eyes, but Les Bleus don't deserve it," wrote Fabrice Jouhaud, editor-in-chief of sports daily L'Equipe.
"No sadness, no grief, above all no anger ... You can only laugh at the fact that those players are big in the head and not so big below the belt," he added.
L'Equipe's lead writer Vincent Duluc lamented that "the only thing left of a big dream and of a former great soccer country is the emptiness ... of a goalless first round ... the feeling of a total wreck, in game and spirit."
The marks awarded by the sports daily reflected the poor performance of Les Bleus. Nicolas Anelka, branded as "the symbol a disaster", was handed a 3 out of 10 like William Gallas, Franck Ribery, Sidney Govou, Abou Diaby and Andre-Pierre Gignac.
The best mark, 6, went to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Florent Malouda was the only other player to escape with an average 5.
The other national newspapers were equally critical. "It was Waterloo in the Limpopo," wrote the conservative Le Figaro referring to Napoleon's defeat in 1815 and to the South African province where the game took place.
France Soir claimed that "Les Bleus shamed France" and added: "If all the rumours buzzing around them are confirmed they will deserve the title of worst internationals in the history of France soccer, maybe not as players but surely as men."
Le Monde, one of the most respected newspapers in France, drew a parallel between "les Bleus vanquished, humiliated, pilloried" and 2010 France.
"Their (Les Bleus) lack of leadership, strategy, team spirit ... all these spoiled talents, these unused resources form the cruel metaphor of a country that is often struggling to gather together, overcome glumness and division, and mobilise its strength," the paper said in an unsigned editorial.