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Blanc cuts France World Cup team
New coach drops all 23 players who travelled to South Africa for his first match.
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2010 16:26 GMT
Blanc slammed France's team performance and behaviour during South Africa 2010 [AFP]

The 23-man squad who represented France in South Africa's 2010 World Cup, have been excluded from the team's next match against Norway on August 11, a statement by the French Football Federation (FFF) has said.

The federation's federal council said in statement on Friday that the decision to exclude the players had been made by Laurent Blanc, the new national coach, but was supported by the FFF.

The friendly match in Oslo will be Blanc's first game after taking over from Raymond Domenech, who presided over bitter infighting and failure in South Africa.

France failed to win any of their three games and scored only once in what had been considered a fairly easy World Cup group.

The players also refused to train as a protest after Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home following an expletive-laced tirade at Domenech during half-time in a 2-0 defeat to Mexico.

'Great sadness'

Blanc, who will release his squad for the Norway game on August  5, has not commented on his decision, but in his first news conference as national coach earlier this month he said that the poor performance would be taken into account.

"I cannot act as if nothing happened in South Africa," Blanc said.

"I followed events with great sadness. I was disappointed by the sporting performance but I was above all outraged by certain behaviour.

"I will take stock of these elements in my analyses and thoughts."

The events at the World Cup caused an outcry in France, with politicians criticising the players' attitude, legislators in parliament questioning the coach and even Nicolas Sarkozy, the president, weighing in on the debacle.

Outgoing federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes has launched an investigation into the players' actions, which should deliver its conclusions to the federation by August 15.

Blanc was appointed as the successor to Domenech on July 2 with the mission to restore the 1998 world champions' pride.

France's disappointing performance in South Africa came after the team also failed to win a game at the 2008 European Championship, also under Domenech.

A scandal involving players Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, who were this week put under investigation on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute, has also hit French football.

Source:
Agencies
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