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Houllier and Ginola renew row over 1994 failure

The war of words between Gerard Houllier and David Ginola over France’s failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup has been reopened.

Houllier was coach of the France side that missed out on the finals in the United States, with their qualification hopes shattered in a now infamous final Group 6 clash with Bulgaria.

France needed a draw with Bulgaria in November 1993 to progress and were level at 1-1 until the visitors netted a late winner after launching a counter from a failed Ginola cross, leaving Houllier to blame the winger for the elimination.

Ginola sued Houllier for alleged defamatory remarks about him in the former Liverpool manager’s 2011 book ‘Coaches’ Secrets’, although the lawsuit was thrown out by a French court.

Houllier reignited the row by telling RMC: “We have all dragged the ball, we have all suffered, it’s not just him. His missed pass against Bulgaria, it is a fact of the game, but when you are offset from the spirit of the team, you play badly.

“Before this game, he said to the press he had to play in place of Eric Cantona and Jean-Pierre Papin.

“Even during his last game with the national team [in 1995], he had said in the dressing room that as a Newcastle player he was to play as a starter and not a substitute.”

However, Ginola then called into the radio station to offer a retort. He said: “These are lies. I never said I had to play instead of Cantona and Papin.

“What I said at the time [in ’95] is that in England, I had never been booed, while in France, the country that I love, I had been whistled because of these people.

“I will not allow a man like him to violate everything that I did. He [Houllier] showed weaknesses during these years
. It’s nice to say that Ginola is a criminal, but in football you win with 11 and lose with 11, but in that game I lost alone.

“We must stop with this, I have children now. It looks like it gives you pleasure. Are there not enough people who cried in 1994?”

Wed 14 Oct, 2015
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