France Camp Focus – Domenech’s France facing tough task ahead after stumbling start against Uruguay

Raymond Domenech stuck to his starting line-up with the exception of Florent Malouda who was dropped in favour of Abou Diaby amid rumours about a training bust-up involving the Chelsea midfielder. The Coach decided to take a firm stand and punish Malouda for his behaviour by relegating him to the bench in another show of force. Domenech did not yield to the wishes of some players to bench Sidney Govou and Yoann Gourcuff as members of the team want Diaby and Thierry Henry starting at the expense of duo Govou and Gourcuff. The troubling aspect for the Coach is the division within the team and the lack of voices within the squad who were willing to control Malouda. No-one apparently tried to muzzle Malouda in another sign the Coach’s grip is slipping ever more to a point of no return. France must get a win against Mexico or the players will probably lose all faith in their Coach. Malouda has refused to comment on the situation yet he did not deny the bust-up while Domenech insisted such matters are handled within the camp’s premises.

Gourcuff was particularly awful in the second half against Uruguay with misplaced passes and a number of ill-advised shots which went way off target. The former Milan player has rarely impressed for France while he was offloaded by the Rossoneri after current Chelsea Coach Carlo Ancelotti deemed him surplus to requirements when he was in charge at Milan. One would think Gourcuff would be carrying a chip on his shoulder considering his performances for Les Bleus have been criticised on several occasions and, more worryingly, his mental fortitude was questioned during his unsuccessful stint in Italy. Instead Gourcuff put in another mediocre display with his substitution during the last 15 minutes of the match met with a sigh of relief by the fans who were hopeful of a positive change as Malouda came on to try and carve some scoring opportunities for the stuttering team. The Chelsea midfielder was not able to do much in his limited time on the pitch but the most baffling decision taken by the Coach was keeping the ineffective Govou on until the 85th minute. Starting Govou put the French at a disadvantage as they appeared to be playing with a man down and to add insult to injury, the Lyon player, considered as the Tactician’s prot

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