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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 22:02 UK

Government probe into France's World Cup campaign

Patrice Evra (l) and Raymond Domenech
Domenech dropped Evra to the bench for the game against South Africa

France's disastrous World Cup campaign will be the subject of a government enquiry, Patrice Evra has revealed.

Striker Thierry Henry held talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy after the Les Bleus arrived home on Thursday.

And captain Evra said politicians will quiz the squad over the infighting which overshadowed their tournament.

Evra, meanwhile, added the players' training boycott in protest at the decision to send striker Nicolas Anelka home was wrong, branding it "clumsy".

Anelka was dismissed for allegedly abusing coach Raymond Domenech at half-time during France's 2-0 defeat to Mexico, prompting the strike ahead of their final Group A game against South Africa - a 2-1 win for the hosts - last Tuesday.

Evidence of the tension within the squad was captured in television footage which showed Evra involved in a heated argument with fitness coach Robert Duverne prior to that abandoned session.

French Football Federation (FFF) managing director Jean-Louis Valentin quit his post in exasperation while the French media savaged the players' course of action.

"We regretted the impact it had," reflected Manchester United left-back Evra. "But we were in such a state that sometimes, for love, you can do clumsy gestures."

Even before the Anelka controversy, however, rumours abounded of unrest in the camp, with the team's performances also suggesting all was not well under Domenech's reign.

The 2006 finalists' uninspiring 0-0 draw against 10-man Uruguay was followed by insipid displays in their losses to Mexico and Bafana Bafana.

Raymond Domenech

Highlights: France 1-2 South Africa

The FFF has promised to meet in July to discuss events in South Africa, however, the decision to launch a governmental probe has added yet another dimension to this embarrassing and seemingly multi-faceted episode.

"Each one of us will say what they experienced and will say the truth," Evra told French television channel TF1.

"Everyone will give some information from each angle and all sides."

Evra, though, was in no mood to impart his version of events at this stage.

"It's not the time to stoke up the pain of all the French people," he continued. "It's not now that you have to attack whoever it may be.

"No-one is clear-headed enough to say what really happened because the scar is still open and we are all hurting at the present time."

Henry, who featured only from the substitutes' bench against Uruguay and South Africa, was slightly more forthcoming when interviewed on Canal+ shortly afterwards.

The 32-year-old, a veteran of France's 1998 World Cup-winning side, suggested that he felt "isolated" in Domenech's squad.

Thierry Henry on French TV
Henry was quizzed on a French TV show

"I could have been the older brother but I wasn't anymore," commented Henry. "I felt isolated, it doesn't matter who by.

"They didn't talk to me as they used to. Before they talked to me more. But when you don't have credibility in a group any more it becomes difficult."

The Barcelona forward, however, played down the significance of the Anelka affair as an influence on the team's demise.

"I don't know whether the Anelka matter was the triggering factor," the former Arsenal striker added. "There was certainly a sickness.

"But I don't think you can talk of clans. I can tell you that I never saw any fights, I didn't see anyone put any pressure on whoever.

"Decisions were group ones. The main reason for this fiasco is that we didn't play well. Unfortunately we entered into debates, invented stories."

Henry concurred with Evra that the decision not to train in the wake of Anelka's exit was "an error" but maintained his former Gunners team-mate was badly treated.

"We had to show our support for Nico because it wasn't what he said," Henry continued.

"We knew that he was going to be sent home the next day, without consulting us.

"They could have talked to him, suspend him from the rest of the World Cup but let him stay with the team.

"But to send him home like that! I had the story of the handball. I was all alone, and I know what that's like.

"We couldn't leave a team-mate like that."



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see also
French chief quits after 'fiasco'
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ribery undergoes surgery on groin
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Domenech snubs Parreira handshake
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Highlights - France 1-2 South Africa
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
The end of the road for France
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
France players return to training
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Anelka row sparks player revolt
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
France squad statement in full
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Anelka sent home for coach insult
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sporting Life HENRY: I FELT ISOLATED - 33 hrs ago
TEAMtalk Henry felt 'isolated' in France squad - 33 hrs ago
FOXSports.com Striker Henry was isoloated in troubled France squad - 33 hrs ago
SoccerWay.com Evra: French disaster set for government enquiry - 43 hrs ago
Football365.com French Government To Launch Inquiry - 49 hrs ago


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