Talk about making a statement. France’s football federation has surely taken the unprecedented step of suspending its entire 23 man World Cup squad from playing in next month’s friendly match against Norway.
The new coach, former French World Cup winner Laurent Blanc, decided that none of his under-performing players deserved to be included for the August 11 game in Oslo (which will be a bitter blow for the squad, as we hear Norway is simply divine in the summer…). Blanc explained his decision in understandably blunt fashion: “I obviously cannot act as if nothing had happened in South Africa. I followed the events with sadness, I was disappointed with the sporting results and I was shocked by certain behaviors.”
To recap, France’s World Cup campaign in South Africa was about as abject as they come: the 2006 finalists went home after the group stage, failing to win any games and only scoring a solitary goal. And that’s before you take into account the infighting, striker Nicolas Anelka being sent home, and his team-mates going on strike in support of him. (See TIME’s World Cup blog for more.)
So if you happen to be reading this, and have French citizenship, it would be worth keeping your diary clear because Monsieur Blanc might be getting in touch to see if you fancy a game. NewsFeed’s advice if the phone goes is simple: Bring your boots, don’t diss management and try your best to remember the words to the world’s greatest anthem. If you can manage that (and Blanc will probably concede that 2 out of 3 is fine) then you could be undertaking a new career. Bonne chance.