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France kick Anelka out of World Cup

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-21 07:52
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France kick Anelka out of World Cup

Chelsea star lashed out at Domenech at halftime of game against Mexico

KNYSNA, South Africa - France kicked star striker Nicolas Anelka out of the World Cup on Saturday after a foul-mouthed tirade at coach Raymond Domenech during the 2-0 defeat to Mexico.

L'Equipe sports daily claimed the Chelsea forward told Domenech to "go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore" at halftime of Thursday match in Polokwane after the coach criticized his first-half performance.

Anelka's exclusion laid bare the divisions within the French camp in a disastrous World Cup campaign when captain Patrice Evra refused to condemn the striker but said there was a "traitor" in the squad who had leaked the bust-up to the media.

The France Football Federation (FFF) said Anelka would leave South Africa on Saturday after he refused to apologize for his "unacceptable" outburst.

"Anelka's remarks are totally unacceptable for the FFF, French football and the values it defends," said an FFF statement.

"The president of the FFF, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, asked Nicolas Anelka, in the presence of captain Patrice Evra, to apologize.

"With the refusal of the player to publicly apologize, it was decided in full agreement with the coach and members of the delegation in Knysna to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad."

Anelka admitted having a "heated discussion" with Domenech but denied using the words quoted in L'Equipe.

"I certainly had a heated discussion with the coach but it happened in the sanctity of the dressingroom, between the coach and I, in front of my teammates and the team's staff.

France kick Anelka out of World Cup

"This should never have left the dressingroom," the 31-year-old striker told France-Soir newspaper.

"I insist that the words which have come out in the press are not my words," he said, although he declined to reveal exactly what he said.

A clearly uncomfortable Evra told a tense news conference: "The team's problem is not Anelka but the traitor in our ranks. We have to eliminate this traitor from the squad.

"This comes from someone in the squad who wants to hurt the France team," the Manchester United defender said.

Anelka's tirade came after Domenech told Anelka to stop straying out of position against Mexico after a first half when France barely threatened the Mexican goal, L'Equipe reported.

When Anelka took issue with the criticism, Domenech threatened to substitute him, prompting the player to make his foul-mouthed outburst, the newspaper said.

Domenech replaced Anelka with Andre-Pierre Gignac for the second half of the match but Mexico secured victory with two second-half goals, leaving the finalists from four years ago staring elimination in the face.

If their Group A rivals Uruguay and Mexico draw their final group match on Tuesday, France will fail to qualify for the last 16 regardless of their own result against host nation South Africa.

The French training camp has reportedly been riven with disputes between Domenech and his players since they arrived in South Africa.

agence france-presse

(China Daily 06/21/2010 page10)