Parreira stunned by snub
Carlos Alberto Parreira (AFP)
Bloemfontein - Raymond Domenech's refusal to shake the hand of South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after his team's 2-1 Soccer World Cup loss brought the unpopular coach's six-year reign to a suitably contentious end.
VIDEO: Domenech snubs Parreira
Domenech, never popular with players or fans since taking over in 2004, coached his final France game on Tuesday and left the job with his reputation at a new low.
France went out of the World Cup without winning a game, just like at the European Championship two years ago.
His players lost respect for him and even boycotted his training session, while Patrice Evra - stripped of the captaincy for Tuesday's 2-1 loss to South Africa - said he would reveal the truth behind France's World Cup shambles in the coming days.
The acrimony in the French camp mattered little to Parreira, who approached Domenech after the final whistle and extended his hand for the traditional post-game shake. The France coach turned his back, wagging his finger angrily. The two exchanged words for some time as Parreira grabbed the top of Domenech's jacket and tried to reason with him.
Parreira said an assistant coach for France later told him that Domenech was angry because the Brazilian had said France didn't deserve to be at the World Cup.
Press reports from December quote Parreira as saying France wouldn't have qualified if not for Thierry Henry's "shameful" handball that helped France beat Ireland in a playoff in November.
A stunned Parreira was adamant this was not true.
"He is no longer going to be the French coach, and as a matter of practice I wanted to greet him," Parreira said. "He said that I had offended the French team, and I for the life of me can't believe what it is that I have said."
Domenech's behavior appeared arrogant; blanking a well-respected football man coaching his last game in his sixth World Cup - winning it with his native Brazil in 1994 - and who was representing the friendly host nation.
By contrast, Domenech won nothing except a second-division title with French club Lyon over two decades ago.
His snub led Parreira to join a chorus of Domenech detractors that includes former France stars Zinedine Zidane, Emmanuel Petit and Bixente Lizarazu.
"It is very lamentable that this happened," Parreira said. "It seems to be that the attitude toward him is justified."
Domenech would only say that he wanted to "greet the players" after they had salvaged a crumb of respect with a respectable second-half performance when down to 10 men after Yoann Gourcuff's sending off midway through the first half.
At both this World Cup and Euro 2008, France drew its opening match 0-0 and then lost its next two. France conceded 10 goals in six games overall, scoring only twice.
"When it comes to the time I will take stock with the management and the players," Domenech said. "It's been six years with France, with good times and bad."
Even though France reached the World Cup final four years ago, most observers credited Zidane with the success, while Domenech distinguished himself more through his odd antics rather than his management skills. At Euro 2008, he proposed to his girlfriend live on television just moments after his team had been knocked out.
Players kept their distance, usually referring to him as "the coach", rarely even mentioning his name.
Parreira says he has earned the right "to take it easy" after becoming the first man to coach in six World Cups, but for Domenech the next few days promise more turmoil when he returns home to answer to furious fans.