That was 12 years ago … Knysna or the worst memory in Blues’ history

On June 20, 2010, the French experienced the worst failure in Blues history. Raymond Domenech’s team decided to boycott a training session, a symbol of France’s fall at the World Cup.

A deteriorating picture since 2008

Prior to the episode of Knysna, the French team is reigning vice-world champion and is therefore expected for this World Cup in 2010. But the situation for the French team has been problematic for almost 2 years. At the European Championships 2008, the Blues have been eliminated from the group stage. Raymond Domenech has already been criticized for his choices. The President of the FFF Jean-Pierre Escalettes then evokes ” a resounding failure at the sporting level ” adds that he it may be the deterioration of the image of the French team ”. This aggravation continues. On November 18, 2009, France actually qualified for the World Cup thanks to a hand from Thierry Henry, which quickly created controversy. The image of the Blues will take another hit the following year.

It is a resounding failure on the sporting level, but perhaps more serious: it is the deterioration of the image of the French team..

The chairman of FFF Jean-Pierre Escalettes in 2008

Difficult beginning

On 11 June 2010, the South African adventure started badly for the French team with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay. The result is disappointing for the Blues, who were unable to break through the Uruguayan bloc. But the bad news mainly concerns the group of the French team led by a coach whose choices are controversial.

The Domenech-Anelka clash

Six days later against Mexico, the situation is again difficult. At the break, the score is again 0-0, and André-Pierre Gignac replaces Nicolas Anelka. No one knows yet, but the reason is a tension in the locker room between the latter and Raymond Domenech. According to the coach in his book, Anelka told him ” Hell, you just have to do your shit on your own! I stop, me ”. The next day headlines L’Equipe ” Fuck you, you bitch! “Writes that these are the words of Nicolas Anelka.

Front page of L’Equipe of June 18, 2010

France then lost the match against Mexico 2-0. After this match, a surreal press conference will take place by Patrice Evra. He says in particular of the person who revealed the information: ” It is this traitor who must be eliminated from the group. Anelka is not the problem of the French team. Nicolas Anelka, however, is excluded from the French team’s group. He responds for his part by confirming a ” heated discussion » but who ” should never have come out of the locker room “. He adds that” the words that came out in the press are not (his) words “.

And then comes the Knysna case

The stage will take place on June 20 at the training ground in Knysna. In front of the journalists ‘cameras, Patrice Evra and Robert Duverne, the Blues’ physical trainer, quarrel in a stormy way. They are separated by Raymond Domenech. Shortly afterwards, the players, who already have a foot on the plane to France, refuse to get off their bus to train. The coach reads in front of the press a ” players’ statement expressing their protest. ” All players on the French team without exception want to confirm their opposition to the French Football Federation’s decision to exclude Nicolas Anelka reads Raymond Domenech in front of the press. For Emmanuel Petit, then a consultant, ” we are more than ridiculous “.

A resounding affair

The consequences are not slow to follow, first and foremost at the sporting level. In fact, the Blues once again lost to South Africa 1-2. They will only have collected one point in this group game. At the extra-sporting level, the Knysna strike sparked a series of indignant reactions. The President of the Republic himself, Nicolas Sarkozy, intervenes the day after the elimination. he announces ” a meeting of the General Estates on the management of French football and also receives Thierry Henry on his return to France. Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot condemns’ immature bosses “WHO” order scared children “Lilian Thuram condemns the players’ responsibility for racism. He explains in L’Equipe that” By their gesture, the players were able to arouse the latent racism in the community. »

The face given by the French team in South Africa … catastrophic. […] Together with the Prime Minister, we have asked the Minister of Sports to organize the general meetings of football so that all the good will who want to rebuild can rebuild.

Nicolas Sarkozy after the Knysna affair

A lack of love for football then seems to exist in France. In January 2011, the number of licensees in the clubs decreased by 8%. But it was without expecting a renewal marked by Didier Deschamps’ arrival. This leads to a world championship in 2014 in reconciliation and then to the joy of the world championship in 2018.

Also read: 5 Elements to Understanding the Platini-Blatter Affair

Leave a Comment