Press unimpressed by French World Cup 0-0 draw

14th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 14, 2006 (AFP) - The French press on Wednesday were typically scathing in their assessment of Les Bleus' performance in their opening World Cup match, a 0-0 draw with Switzerland.

PARIS, June 14, 2006 (AFP) - The French press on Wednesday were typically scathing in their assessment of Les Bleus' performance in their opening World Cup match, a 0-0 draw with Switzerland.

Sports daily L'Equipe went for a double entendre, alluding to both the stifling heat in Stuttgart and the fact that France could easily have lost.

"We had it hot," screamed its front page, although the meaning in French can also be translated as: "We got away with it!"

Their picture shows a desperate late save from goalkeeper Fabien Barthez with his foot at point blank range from Swiss striker Daniel Gygax.

"France could only manage a frustrating 0-0 draw with solid Switzerland for their opening World Cup match," it continued. "Lacking ideas, power and spontaneity, les Bleus remain confident five days ahead of their clash with South Korea, who beat Togo 2-1."

On the inside, L'Equipe shows a picture of shrugging teammates Zinedine Zidane and William Galls at loggerheads in the second half of the 1998 champions' inept display.

The damning verdicts continued from Liberation whose assessment was: "Without puff. With a draw against Switzerland, France messed up its World Cup start."

On the inside, Liberation pulled no punches: "You stink," was the gist of its play-on-words with the word France. The F was confined to brackets leaving the word 'rance', which means a rancid smell.

"Despite the indefatigable (Franck) Ribery, les Blues could not hide their failings in a laboured draw with Switzerland."

Le Parisien seemed to take a lighter tone with its headline: "We didn't win!"

But then it joined the Bleus-bashing brigade by adding: "Under a stifling heat in Stuttgart, les Bleus lacked rhythm and decisiveness."

And in a final blow the newspaper piled on the pressure: "Already they have no room for error and must beat South Korea on Sunday."

It seems all is not well among the players. As well as the spat between Zidane and Gallas a perturbed Thierry Henry reacts angrily in L'Equipe to a question about France's attacking impotence.

"You're a little bit nasty. Let's be a little bit jingoistic," he replied before insisting France had created several chances and should have had a first half penalty.

The final word, went to L'Equipe, already making unhelpful comparisons to France's dismal title defence in 2002 when they failed to score in losing two of their three group games to bow out at the first stage of the competition.

"France could not win a slow and tight game which has reignited the fires of doubt and inadequacy," it said.

It is uphill all the way for the under-fire French from now on.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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