One doesn’t need to consult an astrological chart to know that as a former player, Raymond Domenech should have done a better job of handling this situation across the board

While the World Cup has already provided enough upsets to have worried half the worlds fans already, I firmly believe we have just seen the tip of the iceberg!

Drama on the field has been aplenty too, another essential part of World Cup folklore. Tim Cahill and Kaka’s controversial red cards are at the top of my list in terms of on-field incidents but this World Cup has given us some rare insight into activities within the dressing rooms of some of the worlds top sides.

Leading the pack on the subject of having caught the ugliest of spotlights has to be the French team at this World Cup. Sending Anelka home for insulting a member of the coaching staff was probably on hindsight the single stupidest move that the French Football Federation (FFF) could have made.

That the players banded together to take a stance on the issue and boarded a team bus instead of participating in practice in the run up to their final group game, was somewhat of a double edged sword in my mind. There has been talk of dressing room tension in the French squad in the run up to this world cup from the very outset, so none of this should have come as a surprise to any of us.

The unity shown by the squad in their decision not to practice, serves to highlight in my mind that perhaps the problems in the dressing room were never really between the players, many of whom share commonalities in their playing in the same leagues and even the same teams.

As an aside though I want to go on the record to say that I think refusing to practice is the single most unprofessional act they could have used to protest. How that helps ANYONE I am at a loss to understand. Back to it though, it would seem it is the coaching staff within the French camp that is causing the friction that has resulted in nothing short of a  full blown inferno they are now facing.

The question is how do you recover from this kind of an absolute disaster in public relations and image? The most effective approach is to hope that something equally alarming happens that diverts focus from the French teams troubles, but the truth is, unless a player loses his life on the pitch or fans in South Africa are the victim of a terrorist attack, I cannot see any way out of this one for France. Moreover at that kind of a cost, not even the French Football Federation would wish for something as horrendous as that to happen.

When the dust settles though, the finger pointing will begin once everyone is in plain sight and within reach of some fresh cheese in their beloved Paris. If politics and pressure from the top don’t affect the legitimacy of the decision as to whom to blame, I believe it should fall on whoever decided to send Anelka home and inked it. Whoever did that has learnt nothing from the history of national teams that have shaky relations with their selectors and coaches.

Stars that play for their nations team first squad are national treasures. It doesn’t matter what they do, if your governing body has selected them for the team you will just have to put up with them. We’ve had plenty of good examples of this having to be the approach that works, lest the egg not fly onto the faces of the administrators of these teams.

If Shahid Afridi can get back into the Pakistani squad after sampling the succulency of a cricket ball on live TV, if the West Indian team can boycott a major series; only to play for the national team again like everything was a bad dream and if the National Hockey League can overcome a strike that puts the season on hold for 3 months then anything can be resolved without the need for exclusion and expulsion of individuals which just happens to be the point of no return. When will these administrators learn that players sell tickets, not their interference and favoritism.

Bizarrely enough, Zidanes cheering for Algeria throughout the course of this world cup, seems to be fully justified now. I can’t decide whether leaving in the group stage or going through to the next round via a miracle would be better for this French team. Before you begin to feel sorry for anyone involved in this situation please realize that it could have been worse.

The French could have been the defending champions if they had won that penalty shootout four years ago and got knocked out of in the group stage in this world cup.As for Raymond Domenech I honestly hope he hasn’t used up his last astrologically based calculation yet, else he will only have himself to blame.

What an incredible mess!

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