New France coach Laurent Blanc faces a massive task in rebuilding the morale and the image of the national side after its catastrophic World Cup finals campaign, which ended abjectly at the group stage with a 2-1 defeat by hosts South Africa. Blanc, will at least settle into the hotseat with loads of goodwill, not only because he is lionised as one of the side that collected both the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2002 titles, but also because of one other major factor.
He is not Raymond Domenech. Nevertheless Blanc — nicknamed ‘The President’ from his playing days — will not be able to ease himself into the job as he bids to qualify France for the Euro 2012 finals to be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
The 44-year-old’s first task will be to launch a public relations campaign to win back the supporters.
No matter that captain Patrice Evra announced the squad would refuse the bonuses coming to them from their South African adventure, there is far more work to be done on that score with the fans.
France’s former French Open champion Yannick Noah had reflected what many thought even before the finals had begun that the present French squad was unbearable. ‘How can one love a team who doesn’t love you,’ queried Noah.
Players will bounce back: Prandelli
New Italy coach Cesare Prandelli vowed not to dwell on the team’s embarrassing group-stage exit at the World Cup and insisted his players will quickly bounce back from their failure in South Africa. Prandelli, who has replaced Marcello Lippi as Azzurri coach, signed a four-year contract on Thursday and was formally presented at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
Capello to stay on as England coach
Fabio Capello will remain as England coach despite his team's woeful performance at the World Cup, the Football Association (FA) said on Friday. The 64-year-old Italian said he was more determined than ever to succeed after the FA decided to keep faith with him.