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Blanc boots French flops

2010-07-23 17:06
Laurent Blanc (File)
Paris - New France coach Laurent Blanc Friday has punished the country's farcical World Cup squad by dropping each of the 23 players for a friendly against Norway next month.

Blanc's decision to take action was approved by the French Football Federation's (FFF) federal council after a meeting with Raymond Domenech's successor in Paris.

France suffered a miserable World Cup campaign in South Africa, marked by striker Nicolas Anelka's expulsion after his foul-mouthed tirade at Domenech, infighting, and the players' refusal to train.

'Les Bleus' returned home in ignominy after failing to win any of their first round games, with Domenech refusing to shake South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parriera's hand following the final defeat to the hosts.

Blanc, who will release his squad for the Norway game on August 5, refused to elaborate on his decision to boycott the World Cup squad but admitted in his first press conference as coach earlier this month that he would take the World Cup saga into account.

"I can't act as if nothing happened in South Africa," said Blanc.

"I followed events with great sadness. I was disappointed by the sporting performance but I was above all outraged by certain behaviour. I'll take stock of these elements in my analyses and thoughts."

France football has endured a woeful year with Thierry Henry's controversial handball which put France into the World Cup at the expense of Ireland in the play-offs, their pitiful display in the competition itself, and then the scandal involving Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema who were this week put under investigation on charges of having sex with an under-age prostitute.

The crisis that engulfed Domenech's last mission as national coach resulted in the resignation of FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, with his successor due to be unveiled on Friday.
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