Domenech laments loss

French coach Raymond Domenech was deeply disappointed by his side's penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the World Cup final, and of the sending off of his captain Zinedine Zidane in the player's final international match.

    Raymond Domenech wonders what might have been

    "To see him finish his career in this way is sad. He has had a  great career and a great World Cup," said Domenech of Zidane and his dismissal.

    "When one has to put up with what he had to for 80 minutes and  the referee doesn't do anything, one understands. You can't excuse it but you can understand it," he added.

    With a parade planned for the Champs Elysees in Paris on Monday, the French coach suggested that perhaps it wasn't such a great idea given the circumstances.

    "For Monday, if it was me who decided we wouldn't have one. It is a very French thing to do, to be happy to have lost and not to have the winner."

    "Me, I cannot be satisfied with that. There really was an opportunity to win it. I cannot be happy simply to be a finalist."

    After a tumultuous tournament which began with two lackluster draws for the French, Domenech was close to distraught as he reflected on the events of the past month.

    "I don't have the heart to remember the good things right now.  Only the disappointment at the moment.

    Walk of shame: Zinedine Zidane
    passes the World Cup trophy

    "I am deeply disappointed. We deserved the title based over the whole match.

    "Only victory is beautiful and we missed out just by a little thing. We can say it wasn't too bad but it is the Italians who are the world champions. They played for the penalties because that was the only option for them."

    Aime Jacquet, coach of France's 1998 World Cup winning squad also accused the Italians of playing for penalties while showing disappointment in Zidane's actions.

    "Firstly I think that France played an excellent all round match.

    "I thought that during the second-half and the extra-time that  we were going to score because France was a lot more in evidence than the Italians physically and technically.

    "However the Italians did what they know best and retreated and  broke up the game," said Jacquet.

    "How does one explain (Zidane's), rush of blood to the head. Very simply. They were at the end of their physical and psychological limits, the French and perhaps the Italians.

    "Then there was a provocation and maybe words that were uttered.

    "And Zizou is prone to reacting and unfortunately he could not control himself.

    "It is terrible to see him leave like that because I truly believe he lifted this World Cup."

    SOURCE: AFP


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