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France coach worried by successor appointment

France coach Raymond Domenech said on Sunday that the decision to name his successor prior to this summer’s World Cup could have a disruptive effect on his team.

“Everything that comes from outside can disrupt, undermine and create weaknesses that could prove harmful during a long competition,” he told French TV station TF1.

“For one match, no, but for one month, with substitutes who won’t play or who will only play a bit, it could be complicated and it could create tension. But I’ve got nothing to say about it, I’ll deal with it when it happens.”

The World Cup begins on June 11, with the final to take place on July 11.

France, who only qualified after beating the Republic of Ireland in the European zone play-offs, have been drawn in a group alongside Mexico, Uruguay and the hosts, South Africa.

The president of the French Football Federation, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, has announced that France’s next coach will be named in late April or May.

Some members of the France squad, including Arsenal centre-back William Gallas and Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda, have already expressed reservations about the decision to name Domenech’s successor before the start of the World Cup.

Domenech has proved a divisive figure during his time at the helm of the French national team since his appointment in 2004.

He led Les Bleus to a surprise runners-up finish at the 2006 World Cup, having persuaded iconic midfielder Zinedine Zidane to cut short his international retirement, but oversaw a disappointing group-stage exit at Euro 2008.

Sun 28 February, 2010
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