World Cup Reds

See Evra's stats on

Follow how France's tournament unfolded in our World Cup Reds blog.

Five journalists each adopted a nation containing a United representative at this summer's World Cup. Unfortunately, they've all been eliminated, so this week we're reviewing their campaigns, starting with France...
28/06/2010 10:50, Report by Ben Hibbs

World Cup review: France

There was no glory for Ben Hibbs' adopted World Cup nation, but there was plenty to write about...

Our man in Africa: Much-loved Reds left-back Patrice Evra.
Nation: France
Appearances/goals: 2/0
Results: 1-2 South Africa; 0-2 Mexico; 0-0 Uruguay
In short: Better to burn out than to fade away... France finished bottom of Group A in jaw-dropping, self-destructive style.
So, what happened? Angry supporters of les bleus were left red-faced, the nation demanding an inquest into one of the most farcical campaigns in World Cup history. Critics - either ardent or impassive - argued France shouldn't have been there in the first place, after Thierry Henry's handball against Ireland in the qualifiers. Once there, it was a faux pas for the players to know coach Raymond Domenech - seemingly unpopular with fans, media and players - would depart after the finals. There were tales of factions in the camp over tactics, formation and team selection, and gallic strops aplenty - William Gallas refused to speak to the press after Patrice Evra was made captain. France didn't play like a team and paid the price - a first round exit, with those back home, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, demanding answers.
Anything to tell the grandkids? Patrice has some stories to tell! As captain he led a players' strike - which he's since apologised for - with the squad refusing to train after Nicolas Anelka was sent home for less than complimentary remarks said about Domenech at half-time in the 2-0 defeat to Mexico.
If they were an animal on a South African Safari, they'd be... If I was Irish I'd say cheetah (!), but I'll go for a gazelle - they were easy prey.
Back home in a bar, they're saying... Zut alors! (And, no doubt, much worse)


Premier League