By Chris Wright
UEFA President Michel Platini has all but dismissed France’s World Cup hopes, admitting that the lack of outstanding flair players and their problematic coach – Raymond Domenech – will see them struggle at the South African World Cup.
Platini, speaking in an interview with Hersant Media Group, cited his country’s ‘Raymond problem’ as the main reason he expects to see them fall short this summer;
“There’s a Raymond problem. A problem of personality, not as a coach. He was hopeless, it was after the Euros with his proposal (Domenech proposed to his fiance live on television following France’s dismal showing at Euro 2008) which hurt the whole of France. People were in pain, sad, and he, he comes with his words.
He knew it, he’s acknowledged it, he messed up and that’s it. Before being himself, he is the coach of the France team. His duty is to the whole French footballing family.”
The French legend then went on to bemoan the French team’s lack of quality players and admitted that they are nowhere near being favourites to even reach the quarter-final stages;
“I don’t see them winning, I see them passing the first round, after they will play either Argentina or Nigeria. The France team are not currently the best in the world, nor among the three best teams in the world, but they are part of those teams, like Argentina, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Holland, who will be difficult to beat.
There are good individuals in the group, but let’s be clear, there’s no great individual. Simply put, I think France have lost a great generation.
“For me, there are three teams who are at the top, Spain, England and Brazil. They have the best teams, the best players and it is them who play the best. After, we can imagine a second circle with Germany, Italy, Argentina.”
Hang on, was that Michel Platini backing England for World Cup success? Surely not!
But seriously, how is Raymond Domenech still in a job? He’s been in charge of the French national side for almost six years now and has served only to oversee their dismal descent into borderline-tragic mediocrity.
I have the feeling that, had France not qualified for SA2010 (and most right-minded fans would say that they shouldn’t have) we’d have seen ‘Dom’ receive his marching orders.
As is, it seems that we’ll have to wait until France almost-certainly underachieve in this summer’s tournament to finally see the back of the least-convincing manager in the history of world football.