French coach blames ball boys for defeat to Scots

9th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

GLASGOW, Oct 8, 2006 (AFP) - French manager Raymond Domenech launched an astonishing attack on Scottish ball boys - blaming them for returning the ball too slowly during his side's 1-0 defeat at Hampden.

GLASGOW, Oct 8, 2006 (AFP) - French manager Raymond Domenech launched an astonishing attack on Scottish ball boys - blaming them for returning the ball too slowly during his side's 1-0 defeat at Hampden.

Though France controlled the vast majority of Saturday's Euro 2008 Group B qualifier, Scotland scored the only goal of the game in the 67th minute through Gary Caldwell.

However, at the end of the match, Domenech accused the Scottish ball boys of deliberately slowing the tempo of the game.

He said: "Before the game I knew what the Scottish fans and team were a nation who believe in fair play.

"But I was disappointed with the attitude of the ball boys who slowed the game down whenever the ball went out of play. That was very disappointing for me from a country known for their fair play."

Scotland manager Walter Smith laughed off Domenech's claims.

He said: "It was brilliant that wasn't it. Seriously I think that is something that would happen in any country in the world.

"For Scotland it's nice to be in the position where the ball boys don't need to get the ball back quickly."

Domenech was also disappointed with his players' performance during the game and felt they should have taken advantage of Scotland's weaknesses better.

However, the French manager also paid tribute to Smith's side and warned they could cause further upsets in Group B which also includes world champions Italy.

He said: "Scotland made a few loose passes and gave us a few balls but we were not fast enough to exploit the amount of possession we had.

"I knew before the game that this would be a difficult game and I tried to warn the players. Scotland will be a big threat to the other teams in this group."

As expected France had controlled possession from the kick-off and Thierry Henry twice won free-kicks in dangerous positions within the first 10 minutes, which he took himself.

The Arsenal striker's first in the eighth minute, following a foul by Caldwell, was placed towards the top right-hand corner, out of the reach of Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but rebound off the post.

A minute later, after a foul on him by David Weir 25-yards from goal, Henry's shot required Gordon to save under his crossbar.

Scotland were merely hanging on as the World Cup finalists stretched them over all the pitch but at half-time the score remained goalless.

But amazingly, entirely against the run of play, Scotland took the lead in the 67th minute.

Paul Hartley had won a corner for himself on the right and the Hearts midfielder then flighted the ball in towards the back post where Celtic defender Caldwell slid in to poke home from six-yards.

In the 86th minute Henry squandered a fantastic opportunity to level the score when Florent Malouda's cross found him unmarked in the penalty area but he headed lamely into the hands of goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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