Domenech snubs Parreira

2010-06-23 07:51

Raymond Domenech’s refusal to shake the hand of South Africa coach

Carlos Alberto Parreira after his team’s 2-1 World Cup loss brought the

unpopular coach’s six-year reign to a suitably contentious end.

Domenech, never popular with players or fans since taking over in

2004, coached his final France game yesterday and left the job with his

reputation at a new low.

France went out of the World Cup without winning a game, just like

at the European Championship two years ago.

His players lost respect for him and even boycotted his training

session, while Patrice Evra – stripped of the captaincy for their 2-1 loss to

South Africa – said he would reveal the truth behind France’s World Cup shambles

in the coming days.

The acrimony in the French camp mattered little to Parreira, who

approached Domenech after the final whistle and extended his hand for the

traditional post-game shake.

The France coach turned his back, wagging his finger angrily. The

two exchanged words for some time as Parreira grabbed the top of Domenech’s

jacket and tried to reason with him.

Parreira said an assistant coach for France later told him that

Domenech was angry because the Brazilian had said France didn’t deserve to be at

the World Cup.

Press reports from December quote Parreira as saying France

wouldn’t have qualified if not for Thierry Henry’s “shameful” handball that

helped France beat Ireland in a playoff in November.

A stunned Parreira was adamant this was not true: “He is no longer

going to be the French coach and as a matter of practice I wanted to greet him.

He said that I had offended the French team and I for the life of me can’t

believe what it is that I have said.”

Domenech’s behavior appeared arrogant, blanking a well-respected

football man coaching his last game in his sixth World Cup – winning it with his

native Brazil in 1994 – and who was representing the friendly host nation.

By contrast, Domenech won nothing except a second-division title

with French club Lyon over two decades ago.

His snub led Parreira to join a chorus of Domenech detractors that

includes former France stars Zinedine Zidane, Emmanuel Petit and Bixente


Parreira said: “It is very lamentable that this happened. It seems

to be that the attitude toward him is justified.”

Domenech would only say that he wanted to “greet the players” after

they had salvaged a crumb of respect with a respectable second-half performance

when down to 10 men after Yoann Gourcuff’s sending off midway through the first


At both this World Cup and Euro 2008, France drew its opening match

0-0 and then lost its next two. France conceded 10 goals in six games overall,

scoring only twice.

Domenech said: “When it comes to the time I will take stock with

the management and the players.

It’s been six years with France, with good times

and bad.”

Even though France reached the World Cup final four years ago, most

observers credited Zidane with the success, while Domenech distinguished himself

more through his odd antics rather than his management skills.

At Euro 2008, he proposed to his girlfriend live on television just

moments after his team had been knocked out.

Players kept their distance, usually referring to him as “the

coach“, rarely even mentioning his name. Parreira says he has earned the right

“to take it easy” after becoming the first man to coach in six World Cups but

for Domenech the next few days promise more turmoil when he returns home to

answer to furious fans.

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