France - World Cup

Gallas blames Domenech for France's World Cup exit

Reuters

In his first public comments since France’s dismal World Cup campaign came to an end, veteran defender William Gallas has blamed manager Raymond Domenech for their exit. Gallas, who refused to speak to journalists in South Africa after being overlooked for the captaincy, also said seeing Patrice Evra being made skipper was difficult to take.

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France were eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup after losing to Mexico and hosts South Africa and drawing with Uruguay.

They also made headlines around the world after boycotting a training session in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home after insulting Domenech.

"If it was a fiasco, then there are reasons for it," Gallas told the weekly magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

"And for me there is no need to draw a veil over why - they came from the coach. The real problem is the coach. Okay I wasn't good, we weren't good. But the coach wasn't good either.

“Even the training sessions weren't up to the level required. You can have the best players in the world in your team but if you don't have the coach you need, then you won’t get the results."

Gallas is on the lookout for a new club after his contract with English Premier League side Arsenal expired this summer. 

The 32-year-old, who was the most senior member of the squad after Thierry Henry, said Anelka’s criticism of Domenech at half-time during the loss to Mexico came as no surprise.

"Domenech was not open. A lot of players were unable to talk to him and it was certainly the case with me. Anelka's incident was a case of him being fed up for a few weeks prior to that.

"Domenech hammered into us: 'Put your egos to one side.' But I think he forgot to do that himself."

Gallas also recounted how disappointed he was to find out he would not be captaining the side after Henry was relegated to the bench.

"The hardest part of it is the way it happened," he said. "I realised when I entered the dressing-room prior to the friendly with Costa Rica [on 26 May] that the captain's armband was placed beside Evra's shirt.

"He [Domenech] told me 'you wouldn’t be a good captain anyway.’"

Domenech stepped down after the World Cup. His replacement, the former Marseille, Barcelona and Inter Milan defender Laurent Blanc, held his first press conference on Tuesday.

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