Sunday, June 20, 2010

French Unity and Player Democracy

What an interesting couple of days. Anelka sent home and now a revolt of sorts. Reports initially came in that after arriving on the team bus, Patrice Evra, team captain and manager extraordinaire (mais non) had a heated discussion. This spilled on to the training ground when the physical trainer was engaged in the conversation.

It transpires that the physical trainer, Robert Duverne, was leaking information to the press regarding internal team matters. What transpired in the changing rooms at half time between Domenech and Anelka was an internal matter and it would seem that the Manager felt he had dealt with the situation by substituting the striker for Gignac.

However, Duverne went to the press and because of the exposure of the altercation the French Football Federation decided to send Anelka home. Wind of the leak reached the players and hence the ensuing protest.

After reaching the training ground and snubbing the French media at the complex, the players went back on to the bus and convened to decide on their next move, which was to give Domenech a note to pass on to the media stating that they would not train in protest to the FFF. It was the FFF's decision not Domenech's.

So they won't train? Well, it seems only for today as part of the protest and in support of Nicolas Anelka. Is this galvanising? Is this unity? Seems so. If they beat South Africa and beat them well, they may still sneak through. A big if though.

Meanwhile, England's nervous camp are probably meeting with Fabio Capello right now. They're going to air everything they are feeling and aren't happy about. Seems as though Joe Cole's stock in the England set-up has never been higher but John Terry has re-emerged as the 'real' captain of this team in a candid press conference.

Amongst this backdrop of frustrated European footballing powers, lets not take away from New Zealand's achievements in holding off the Italians. Italy were far from boring but could only breach the Kiwis once in response to an early goal by Shane Smeltz.

The New Zealand Herald are obviously extremely proud of their teams achievements while La Repubblica complains of the implications if Italy even do qualify, which they should. Now they are worried about coming up against the Dutch.

Paraguay beat a truly uninspiring Slovakian team. They really have missed an opportunity but fair play to the South Americans...a plucky European style win.

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