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Taxi for Les Bleus – Sarkozy fails to halt French revulsion

After a week which saw obscenities thrown, mutinous players refusing to train, the coach walking out and President Sarkozy calling a crisis meeting, there was a certain sense that France had been put out of its misery as the national squad crashed out of the World Cup.

The country had been plunged into existential navel-gazing over how the beautiful game had turned so ugly. Authentic Prada Gauffre Mostly, there was incomprehension over how a dozen or so pampered and fantastically well-paid players could bring such international ignominy on the French Republic.

The antics of the national side managed to eclipse news of a general strike planned for tomorrowThursday, Apertura Outlet Prada Montevarchi high unemployment and the economic crisis. One French MP called for a parliamentary inquiry. “They’ve forgotten they represent France and are only concerned about their oversized egos,” said Jean-Philippe Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale Maurer before the crucial match against South Authentic Prada Bags Outlet Online Africa, which they lost 2-1.

The national squad had been sent out onto the pitch with orders Black Prada Doctor Bag from on high – President Nicolas Sarkozy himself – to redeem themselves after a week in which the players’ off-pitch antics became a matter of state.

Instead, Biggest Prada Store London Les Bleus, ranked ninth in the world, lost to the host team, Bafana Bafana, ranked 83rd, in a match dominated by the underdog South Africans.

“They were rubbish. Absolute rubbish,” said company manager Julien Joubert, 31, watching the match in Le Roi Soleil bar in Paris’ chic 10th arrondissement. “I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.”

Event organiser Sofia Tholey, 24, added: “We came to watch the match because we are patriotic and because we held out the tiniest of hope. But Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shoes Uk I am ashamed of the players behaviour on and off the pitch. It is scandalous and they have brought shame on us throughout the world.”

As the final whistle blew there were grim faces and a collective shrug. “Nul, (useless) nul, nul,” muttered one man. The oft-repeated “catastrophe” needed no translation.

In the week leading up to yesterday’s game, the Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for verbally abusing the French manager, Raymond Domenech. The players then went on strike in support of their colleague and refused to train. Back home, politicians, newspapers and personalities vied to find the most devastating mot juste to describe the debacle: pathetic, catastrophic fake, sad.

The papers waded in: “A Little Bit of Dignity!” pleaded Le Parisien on its front page.

France-Inter, the French equivalent of Radio 4, ran a compilation of soundbites from players to the Benny Hill soundtrack.

Acting on orders from Sarkozy, the sports minister, Roselyne Bachelot, was instructed to stay on in South Africa and bang the players’ heads together. Bachelot spoke of the “moral disaster” French football was in Alex Pradas Quiles and warned: Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shopping “We will take whatever action necessary, and without gentleness, as soon as Les Bleus return home.”

To add Authentic Prada Handbag Uk insult to insult, sponsors also showed their red cards: Crédit Agricole pulled its advertising campaign “in view of the current controversy”; and the French burger chain Quick, and Pringles the crisp company withdrew adverts involving Anelka.

When Les Bleus arrived in South Africa 10 days ago, they were expected to erase the chicanery of their qualification: Thierry Henry’s “Hand of Frog” double handball that saw them knock out Ireland. Expected, also, to erase the under-age sex scandal tarnishing their star player Franck Ribéry who was alleged to have slept with a teenage prostitute.

And expected to prove they were worth the five-star hotel and luxury training facilities that a government minister had criticised as “indecent” in a time of recession.

They did none of the above and flew home last night to face the wrath of several million compatriots, not least of all the French leader.

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