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World Cup 2010 – France woe deepens as fight stops training

France halted a World Cup training session after a furious row between captain Patrice Evra and fitness coach Robert Duverne, leading to the immediate resignation of the team director.

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The public session was about to begin when a heated dispute started at the centre of the pitch between Evra and Duverne.

France coach Raymond Domenech had to move in to separate them. Duverne angrily threw his stopwatch on to the pitch and left.

The players then walked towards their bus following the incident, a day after striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home after insulting Domenech at half-time of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico on Thursday in Polokwane.

“They don’t want to train, it’s a scandal,” France team director and French Football Federation managing director Jean-Louis Valentin said as he also left the pitch.

“It’s a scandal for French people, for the youngsters who came here to watch them train. I’m resigning, I’m leaving the Federation. I have nothing more to do here. I’m going back to Paris.”

The new scandal came a day after Evra said a “traitor” within the team had leaked Anelka’s insults to the press.

French sports daily L’Equipe put them on their front page and a few hours later, Anelka was kicked out of the squad.

Asked by a reporter on Sunday if he was the “traitor”, Valentin replied “no, no, no” and appeared close to tears.

French media suggested on Sunday that Anelka’s attitude was not the only problem in France’s troubled squad and reported rival playmakers Yoann Gourcuff and Franck Ribery had a fight on the flight back from Polokwane.

“That’s absolute nonsense,” Domenech said when asked about that report. “Those who know Yoann a bit know it is totally impossible for him to fight with anybody.”

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France’s fate is now out of their hands and even a big win over South Africa in their final group game in Bloemfontein on Tuesday might not be enough for them to survive the group stage.

“There’s a tiny chance,” said Domenech, aware that a draw between Mexico and Uruguay would put both France and the hosts out of the tournament. “We must win, score goals and hope things go our way.”

Report

Written by Israel Saria

For the last 20 years I have been working as a football pundit. This experience has provided me with a very useful insight into football and the opportunity to carry out extensive research into the game including its players, the stadiums, the rules and tactics and I have also been grateful to meet a wide range of people connected to football in the UK, Tanzania, Germany .....

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