Football

French World Cup team reduced to tears

RFI/JD Lesay

France’s sports minister Roselyne Bachelot reduced the mutinous French football team to tears during a stern lecture ahead of France’s match against South Africa on Tuesday.

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The antics of the French football team have been entertaining bookmakers and sports commentators across the globe, but France’s sports minister Roselyne Bachelot certainly doesn't find their behaviour funny.

So when the team threatened to boycott Tuesday’s match against South Africa, it was the last straw for Bachelot. On Monday, she gave the team a dressing down during a meeting at their camp.

In a press conference following the encounter, Bachelot said she had told the players they were a “moral disaster” and had “damaged France’s reputation".

“They applauded me and they were crying,” Bachelot said of the meeting, adding “I told the players that they are perhaps no longer the heroes for our children.”

France’s World Cup team has been in turmoil since their disastrous defeat to Mexico (0-1) last Thursday, during which French striker Nicolas Anelka insulted French coach Raymond Domenech.

The locker room spat was leaked to the French press and sent shockwaves through the French football community. Anelka’s refusal to apologize for the incident led Domenech to exclude the player from the team and send him back home.

The incident took an unlikely turn on Sunday when the French team refused to train in solidarity with the outcast.

Bachelot said she had spoken to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon before delivering her dressing down. She said measures would be taken to reform the French football federation after the World Cup fiasco.

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