The scoreline read 2-1 but in reality South Africa controlled the match from start to finish. It didn't help that French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff was sent off in the 25th minute, leaving his countrymen to defend against a motivated South African side for the remaining 75. In truth, Bafana Bafana (South African term for 'the boys') should have scored more. Doing so might have seen them through to the knockout stages in place of Mexico, but it wasn't to be.
So much for the good ol' days...
How could the 1998 world champions fall so far? Let me throw out a few nuggets...
- Coach Raymond Domenech, after a 2-0 thumping by Italy dumped France out of the 2008 European championships, proposed to his girlfriend in the post-match interview. Nothing like being self-absorbed after an embarrassing team loss.
- Prior to this year's world cup, Domenech prepared a full program for his 24-player squad: mountain bike training, weights, swimming and hiking. It doesn't look like they kicked many balls in the Alps...
- Prior to the aforementioned 2008 European Championships Domenech admitted his team selection was influenced by astrology. Maybe that's why two of his best options, Arsenal regular Samir Nasri and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, weren't even selected?
- Earlier this year, French winger and all-around (not-so?) good guy Frank Ribery was implicated along with Benzema and several teammates in a prostitution scandal involving a minor. Yikes!
- Once Les Bleus actually got to the World Cup, they managed to score a grand total of one goal in three games. Striker Nicolas Anelka was dismissed from the team after allegedly making derogatory remarks concerning/to Coach Domenech during the halftime break of France's humiliating 2-0 loss to Mexico.
- In protest, the entire French team refused to practice this past Sunday, apparently in a display of solidarity with the dismissed Anelka. Jean-Louis Valentin, the French team director, resigned afterward due to being 'fed up' with the team. You think?
- Fitness coach Robert Duverne also stormed off the practice field Sunday, tossing his accreditation away in anger after an argument with French captain Patrice Evra - who, by the way, didn't even play against South Africa today. Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!
What a complete and utter train wreck.
At least, for the French, c'est finis. Now the rest of us can focus on really important matters - like the USA beating Algeria in a must-win to make the knockout round after being denied a clear winning goal against Slovenia by Malian referee Koman Coulibaly. Not that I'm bitter.
And speaking of dog-piling; the Irish, who were eliminated in a World Cup qualifier play off by, of course, Les Bleus, reportedly donned somberos and downed tequila shots after Thursday's win by Mexico over the French. Erin go bragh!
This World Cup has more drama than a WWE Smackdown. If this doesn't bring in the fans, I don't know what will.
But to the French...boux houx...and au revoir!