France’s opening Euro 2012 qualifier 1-0 defeat by Belarus provoked united despair from the French press on Saturday.
“Catastrophic” was the headline in L’Equipe, which added that new coach Laurent Blanc’s competitive debut had seen the French side “completely foul up against a modest and unambitious Belarus side”.
The team would now have to get a result against Bosnia on Tuesday in Sarajevo to kick-start their Euro campaign.
The newspaper, however, did not hold out too much hope for a good result against a Bosnian side that got within the play-offs of reaching the World Cup finals and opened their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 away win over minnows Luxembourg.
“The night is going to be a long one,” L’Equipe said, adding: “The French team have won one match in the last 10 and have to achieve something special on Tuesday in Sarajevo against Bosnia. How? No one knows how.”
Its editorial yearned for the returns of the suspended trio of Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra and Jeremy Toulalan.
They are serving varied suspensions for their roles in the infamous players’ strike at the World Cup finals over the expulsion of forward Nicolas Anelka for his foul-mouthed outburst at then-coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of the match with Mexico.
“We imagined the worst and the worst duly arrived. It is terrible really terrible but one shouldn’t be really astonished,” L’Equipe said.
“One has to confront the reality that is happening to French football.
“One has to only look at the names of the players that played on Friday to see the reality of the state of French football.
“At the end of a summer where indignity and shame was mixed with defeat, the French team lost to a side ranked 78th in the world.
“French football is in agony.”
Blanc’s efforts to bring in fellow World Cup-winning hero Zinedine Zidane during the week to speak to the players along with his forcing the players to learn the words of the national anthem ‘The Marseillaise’ were welcome, said the paper but not enough.
“In the wake of defeat, communication and symbols are soon exposed in their limitations,” it said.
“Time is pressing and this team needs its best players back as quickly as possible.”
“The nightmare continues” was the headline in Le Parisien which said that the catastrophic performance augured nothing but bad things to come in the future and added that the search for a playmaker was of the utmost urgency.
Tabloid France Soir ran with the headline “What a slap in the face!” making clear on its inside pages that there would be no quick fix solution to the seemingly unending nightmare that is becoming the French national side.
“The sickness runs really deep,” it said. “The Stade de France went from laughter to tears by the end of the evening.”
August publication Le Figaro didn’t spare its despair at the defeat.
“The French team are already prone on the ground,” it said, also beomaning the “deficit of talent on the pitch” and said that being at the Stade de France was as enjoyable as “having a cold shower”.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!