France exit euro 2008

France Exit Euro 2008

In the time honoured tradition of the good old sporting clich? it’s time to break open the thesaurus, cry over the spilled milk and join the rest of the country in mourning France’s humiliating exit from Euro 2008.

On the morning after the night before, the French newspaper headlines are inevitably screaming for the head of the national team’s coach, Raymond Domenech.

Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Italy could have just been the final straw to break the camel’s back as far as Domenech’s future in the job is concerned, although popping up in front of the microphone on the inevitable post-match post-mortem on national television immediately following the game his mind seemed to be elsewhere.

In front of millions of viewers Domenech behaved as though he had stepped straight on to the set of a Reality TV show by proposing to his long-time partner and one of the programme’s presenters, Estelle Denis.

Red-eyed and clearly brimming with emotion, Domenech mumbled into the microphone that he had only one project for the immediate future.

“That’s to marry Estelle,” he said. “It’s at times like these that we all need someone and I need her,” he continued.

“I thought to myself that there are beautiful things in life such as saying to people that we love them.

And it’s in these difficult moments that everyone wants to say what really matters. I wanted to say that,” he added.

Fairly tugs at the heartstrings doesn’t it? There was no admission of his failure or mistakes he had made, just a mention of “a team for the future” and a marriage proposal into the bargain. Quite a night all round really.

Domenech’s contract with the French Football Federation runs until 2010 and – perhaps luckily for him given his miserable track record as manager – isn’t actually performance related.

But the head honchos of French soccer will be getting together next month with the coach to discuss not only the strategy for qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but most likely his future too.

Already there are a number of experienced managers and former internationals itching to step into Domenech’s shoes and prove that a reign at the top can actually bring home trophies.

Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc – both members of France’s World Cup winning squad back in 1998 are two of the favourites being touted around at the moment.

On a positive note – yes there is apparently one to be spun from France’s early exit – is the pool of talented young players available as Domenech or whoever starts rebuilding for the 2010 campaign.

Already a number of the old guard 30-somethings have announced their retirement from international football. Lilian Thuram, Willy Sagnol and Claude Makelele have already said they’re hanging up their boots and more are expected in the following days.

While the fat lady might still be singing for Domenech, for the players it’s now time to lick their wounds, pack their bags and take the first flight home.

With the Netherlands beating Romania in the group’s other match, Les Bleus — incidentally playing in white for their last match of the tournament – finished plum last, managing just one measly goal and one even more measly point from their three appearances.

A pretty poor showing in anyone’s books from the 2006 World Cup runner up and one of the pre-tournament favourites.

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