HT Image
HT Image

Journey of rediscovery beckons

Ousted from Euro, France will now concentrate on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, writes Patrick Vignal.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Vevey (switzerland)
UPDATED ON JUN 19, 2008 11:07 PM IST

On April 1 this year, coach Raymond Domenech said France would skip Euro 2008 to concentrate on preparing for the 2010 World Cup.

It was, of course, an April Fool’s joke, but Domenech might be thinking now it would not have been such a bad idea.

“I regret not to have stuck to my initial plan which was to work on the 2010 project,” Domenech told reporters before leaving France’s Swiss base near Vevey to face an uncertain future.

“This tournament should have been a step towards the World Cup and not a goal as such,” he added.

A mix of rusty warriors and untested youngsters proved a losing formula and France went home with their heads down, bottom of their group with just a point and one goal from three dismal performances.

France, who struggled to make it to this tournament, losing twice to Scotland in their group, will meet Austria, the Faroe Islands, Lithuania, Romania and Serbia in their qualifying campaign for the next World Cup finals in South Africa.

Domenech, who said his personal fate was not important, will find out after a French Football Federation (FFF) meeting on July 3 whether he remains in charge.

Deschamps favourite

DIDIER DESCHAMPS, France’s 1998 World Cup-winning captain, is the favourite to take over if Domenech were to be axed, with Laurent Blanc, Jean Tigana and Gerard Houllier also possible candidates.

Whoever guides France next faces a tough task.

While their stalwarts looked their age at Euro 2008 or, like captain Patrick Vieira who failed to shake off a thigh injury, did not play at all, their newcomers such as 20-year-old striker Karim Benzema failed to live up to high expectations.

Domenech, who was hoping his most experienced players would help the younger ones adapt, admitted it had not worked out and suggested the atmosphere in the team had not been that great.

“You need time to build a team in which you have people with contrasting mentalities and life-styles,” he said. “Some understood what we were trying to do but others didn’t and never will. That’s life.”

An era has ended, defender Lilian Thuram and midfielder Claude Makelele having announced their international retirements after the fiasco while others such as goalkeeper Gregory Coupet are likely to follow suit.

A new generation will now take over and Franck Ribery, who inherited Zinedine Zidane’s talismanic role and is 25, could be at the peak of his powers around 2010 while Benzema might have become by then the truly great player many see him to be.

There is plenty of work to do but also room for hope for the France fans, aware that coming back from the dead has always been a great French specialty.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Divij Sharan in action. (Getty Images)
Divij Sharan in action. (Getty Images)

Australian Open: No Indian among 47 Open players in isolation

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:12 PM IST
  • None of the Indian players has been impacted, the statements said.
Close
Tennis players, coaches and officials arrive at a hotel in Melbourne on January 15, 2021, before quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)(AFP)
Tennis players, coaches and officials arrive at a hotel in Melbourne on January 15, 2021, before quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)(AFP)

Australian Open arrivals hit by positive COVID tests: Report

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:48 AM IST
The Australian Open is set to start Feb. 8, three weeks later than usual because of COVID-19 quarantining protocols.
Close
(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 9, 2021, Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian coach Mauricio Pochettino looks on ahead of the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade Brestois 29 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. - PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino has tested positive for Covid-19, the club said on January 15, 2021. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)(AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 9, 2021, Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian coach Mauricio Pochettino looks on ahead of the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade Brestois 29 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. - PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino has tested positive for Covid-19, the club said on January 15, 2021. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)(AFP)

PSG coach Pochettino tests positive for virus

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 04:33 AM IST
Pochettino's assistants, Jesus Perez and Miguel D’Agostino, will take charge against Angers, PSG said on Friday.
Close
Soccer Football - Bundesliga - 1. FC Union Berlin v Bayer Leverkusen - Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany - January 15, 2021 1. FC Union Berlin players after the match Pool via REUTERS/Andreas Gora DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video(Pool via REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Bundesliga - 1. FC Union Berlin v Bayer Leverkusen - Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany - January 15, 2021 1. FC Union Berlin players after the match Pool via REUTERS/Andreas Gora DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video(Pool via REUTERS)

Union Berlin stun Leverkusen 1-0 to move 4th in Bundesliga

AP
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 05:04 AM IST
The game ended on a sour note, however, with Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri angrily approaching Union midfielder Florian Hübner and pointing his finger in his face.
Close
Roma's goalkeeper Pau Lopez, right, in action during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic Stadium, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Luciano Rossi/LaPresse via AP)(AP)
Roma's goalkeeper Pau Lopez, right, in action during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic Stadium, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Luciano Rossi/LaPresse via AP)(AP)

Lazio eyes Champions League after 3-0 derby win over Roma

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 04:59 AM IST
Luis Alberto scored twice and Ciro Immobile also found the target as Lazio controlled throughout.
Close
Photo of Indian motorcycle racer CS Santosh(Twitter)
Photo of Indian motorcycle racer CS Santosh(Twitter)

Santosh back in India, out of induced coma

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 04:37 AM IST
“CS Santosh was transferred by air ambulance from Riyadh to Bengaluru on Thursday without any issues,” Santosh’s team Hero MotoSports said in a statement on Friday after the 43rd Dakar Rally ended.
Close
SC East Bengal secure a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters(Twitter)
SC East Bengal secure a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters(Twitter)

ISL: Neville secures draw for SC East Bengal with late equaliser against Kerala

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 10:32 PM IST
Jordan Murray put Kerala ahead in the 64th minute before Neville's stoppage-time equaliser (90 5) ensured that SCEB extended their unbeaten run to six games.
Close
Real Kashmir beat Chennai City FC 2-0(Twitter)
Real Kashmir beat Chennai City FC 2-0(Twitter)

Dicka, Ralte shine as Real Kashmir earn first win of I-League season

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 10:38 PM IST
In a cagey match where chances were few and both teams cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, Dicka's 16-minute strike and a late goal by substitute Ralte proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola(REUTERS)

Manchester City's Guardiola looks to set home record straight against Palace

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 09:02 PM IST
Palace have recorded a rare victory and a draw in the last two seasons on their trips to the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola said he was wary of their defensive resilience having held in-form Arsenal to a 0-0 draw on Thursday.
Close
MC Mary Kom(PTI)
MC Mary Kom(PTI)

Mary Kom joins camp, to train from Monday

By Avishek Roy
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 07:27 PM IST
Currently quarantined at the institute, Mary Kom got the all-clear on Friday after returning a negative test for Covid-19. She had stayed away from the elite national camp and competitions because of the pandemic.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)

PSG need to find consistency in the league, says Pochettino

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:59 PM IST
PSG beat Olympique de Marseille 2-1 in the French Super Cup on Wednesday in the former Tottenham Hotspur coach's third game in charge.
Close
Photo of Belarus' Nikolai Snesarev(Twitter)
Photo of Belarus' Nikolai Snesarev(Twitter)

SAI appoints Nikolai as Indian athletics' middle and long-distance coach

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 04:55 PM IST
The 72-year-old has been appointed till the end of September, a period which will include the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to take place in July-August.
Close
File photo of AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic(REUTERS)
File photo of AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic(REUTERS)

Ibrahimovic planning talks on extending Milan stay

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:19 PM IST
Ibrahimovic joined Milan in December 2019 and signed a one-year extension last summer to carry on in Serie A for another season in 2020-21.
Close
Raul Garcia scored two first-half goals. (Getty)
Raul Garcia scored two first-half goals. (Getty)

Athletic knock out Madrid to reach Super Cup final vs Barcelona

AP, Malaga
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 12:24 PM IST
  • Athletic Bilbao knocked out defending champion Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup with a 2-1 win, setting up a final against Barcelona.
Close
Dani Ceballos, Rob Holding of Arsenal and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace in action. (Getty)
Dani Ceballos, Rob Holding of Arsenal and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace in action. (Getty)

Arsenal lack spark as Palace stalemate slows revival

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 12:31 PM IST
  • Arsenal were bidding for a fourth successive league win but could find no way through an obdurate Palace who, if anything, might feel they could have emerged with a win.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP