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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
What went wrong for France?
Have your say on France's progress
1998 World Cup winners France have crashed out of the World Cup at the first hurdle without scoring a single goal.

What went wrong for Les Bleus?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


They had a disastrous World Cup but in my opinion they are still the best team in the world.
Richard, England

France played terribly; so much was expected of them. They thought they could just turn up, but they were wrong.
Laura Kendle, England

How can the French blame the Premier League for their failure, when 22 players from the same league are still in the quarter finals with England?!
Joanna, England

Open Quote
To the French supporters who laughed on Senegal earlier, who is laughing now?!
Close Quote
Endale, USA
The French had little stability in midfield and defence. They need to get rid of the older players and replace them with many of their promising youngsters, who have done well in the under-21 championships. They need to start thinking about the future.
Joe Laffar, England

I wasn't surprised by the early exit made by France. Too much confidence was the reason for their failure. To the French supporters who laughed on Senegal earlier, who is laughing now?!
Endale, USA

I can't believe Zidane has blamed a tough league season on Frances failure to qualify for the second round. Yes, a lot of their first team play in England. But all but one of the England team play in England yet we managed to qualify from a far superior group.

True some of the domestic seasons in different countries have been hard but every country has had to deal with injuries and fatigue. Poor excuses, poor performers. Sorry France you deserved to go out.
Ed Greenwood, UK

Open Quote
Lamerre failed both in his squad selection and in his subsequent tactics. He continued to use too many players past their best
Close Quote
Dave Lovesy,England
Pete, you must have been watching France during a practice session - they did not score any goals! The French paid the price for not playing well against Senegal and especially Uruguay. Denmark would not have won 2-0 had France needed a draw. Maybe now they will have to qualify for tournaments they might get the experience they lacked despite the number of caps they have.
Paul, USA

There are two reasons for France's early exit.Firstly, the squad is old. The majority of the defence are over 30 and all have shown signs of age catching up with them during this season.

Secondly, they have never properly replaced Blanc and Deschamps. Both players were an integral part of the side that were successful in 1998.
Kevin Platt, England

What went wrong for Les Bleus? Lamerre failed both in his squad selection and in his subsequent tactics. He continued to use too many players past their best e.g. Barthez, Lizarazu, Leboeuf, Petit, Djorkaeff and Dugarry, when the Under 17s and Under 21s are brimming with talent.

A key factor in their successes at France 98 and Euro 2000 was team spirit, both on and off the field. That was apparently not the case this time.
Dave Lovesy,England (near France)

Open Quote
France didn't score a single goal. That's what went wrong
Close Quote
Conleth, Australia (Irishman)
It's funny that there have been comparisons between the English injuries and the French. Beckham started while Zizou and Pires didn't. If English fans don't believe that missing your key player is an excuse, than why all the fuss about the Spice Boy's injury?
Manolis,France

I was in tears when Denmark scored their second goal. I was certain that France could do it. At the end of the day, they did not play as the team that played in 1998. Was it just being over confident? or just wanted an early holiday? Who knows. But without the likes of Zidane and Pires the pressure was on. Unlucky Les Blues, but in two years time lets see the Real France who we saw four years ago.
Wassim, France

What went wrong? What do you mean? France didn't score a single goal. That's what went wrong. No goals, no wins, no chance. And unlike Argentina who were almost in tears when eliminated, the French didn't look too upset at the final whistle. Maybe they had an attitude problem as well - I'll not miss them, and I look forward to watching Senegal and Denmark.
Conleth, Australia (Irishman)

Open Quote
How ironic - France win the World Cup in 98 without a recognised striker yet in this World Cup they have four of the best strikers in the world and failed to score
Close Quote
Carl, England
Four World Class strikers? Henry is one and Anelka another. Maybe the fact that they played less than one and a half games between the two of them accounts for France not scoring. Trezeguet being the top scorer in Italy only goes to show how much standards in Serie A have fallen in recent years.
Martin, Japan

With most of the French internationals playing in the 'over' fixtured English premiership it is hardly surprising they are leaving the World Cup in the group stage. They look tired and jaded, and without Pires and Zidane they looked uninspired.
JJ, English ex-pat in Belgium

Yes it is sad for the World Cup that France have gone out (as Craig Brown said), BUT they have gone out because they were not good enough. No goals, only one point and not one win in the group phase really does indicate that they do not deserve to be in the second round. You cannot judge a football team on performances of four years ago (or even two years ago) it is now that matters and they are just not good enough this time around!
Louise Lowry, England

How ironic that France should win the World Cup in 98 without a recognised prolific striker and they came to this world cup with purportedly four of the best strikers in the world and yet they failed to score a single goal. What a shame that Frank Lebouf no longer plays in the UK.
Carl, England

Open Quote
I hope people can now understand what pressure is
Close Quote
Frederico Ferrannini, Brazil
France were to old and thought that no other team should be on the same field as them. They have been beaten by teams where none of there players would get into the French squad never mind there team.
Gilbert, Scotland

So they loose ... and crash out with the worst record as current holders in the history of the world cup. Failing to win a game and managing only 1 goal in 270 minutes of football just isn't good enough. Long may it continue. Come on England.
Pete Hotchkiss, UK

I hope people can now understand what pressure is. When Brazil played in France in 1998 the pressure was unique. Above any human standard We managed to reach the final, but then we collapsed. It was not France that was that good, but Brazil that has not played in that match. Look at France now. They didn't even manage the first round. There's nothing like being an underdog, like Brazil is on this Cup.Who are the favourites to win now? Who dares to say it?
Frederico Ferrannini, Brazil

I have never seen a team with so little luck. In my opinion, a draw in the match against Denmark would have been a much more fair result.
Kasper, Denmark

At last the French get what they deserved. Over confident, arrogant and cocky, they finally looked lke what they are: A very, very average football team. Losing to Russia and Belgium in recent months has proved this. Bye, bye France, you won't be missed.
Dave, UK

Z Z is getting old . France need someone good to replace him, but you don't get many players that good nowadays!
Dean Filler, England

Open Quote
You didn't deserve the humiliation that the World Cup turned out to be
Close Quote
Henrik, Denmark

France suffered from automatic qualification, and a lack of any meaningfully competitive international fixtures for the best part of two years.

While the other sides busied themselves with qualification and the team spirit built from playing in crucial matches, France had to content themselves with friendly fixtures against varied opposition. No wonder the cutting edge and urgency seemed absent.
Michael, England

This is a bitter blow to all fans of the "beautiful game". France's premature departure has robbed us and the latter stages of the World Cup of the best team in the world.

When they are on song, they ooze class and a purity of football which goes beyond mere back flicks. They still have in Zidane, Pires and Vieira, Trezeguet and Henry, some of the finest players in the world. What happened?
Revantha, UK

Thanks for a fine match, France. You didn't deserve the humiliation that the World Cup turned out to be. Still, we know you'll be back in four years. In the first half Zidane gave us examples of his football genius. We'll miss him and France in the rest of the finals.
Henrik, Denmark

Before this World Cup, France was the team that forgot how to lose. Look at how they have always scored at the last minute in World Cup 1998 or Euro 2000. Somehow, they could never lose.
Open Quote
They just have to try harder next time! C'est la vie!
Close Quote
Franziska, UK
And now, they have become the team that forgot how to win. After dominating for 270 minutes in three games, not a goal to show for their efforts.Play with your instinct next time.
Parag Kothary, UK

We have to admit we were sometimes lucky in 1998 when we won the competition; this year, luck has obviously gone. Good football teams don't live on luck, because they don't need it to win. Today we have to admit the terrible truth: only luck could have saved us, because all the magic had gone.
François Robert, France

There is one person responsible for the demise of the French side. Roger Lemerre. He is tactically naive, failed to revitalised an ageing squad and was complacent even with the obvious faults in his defence. I also believe that losing Robert Pires, the form player in Europe before his inury, was a bigger blow than everyone realised.

France are not as far ahead of the rest as they thought. They are still a quality side with amazing players, but lots of sides have amazing players. To have even made an impact at this tournament France had to play at 100 percent for 90 minutes because that is what this tournament requires from everyone.
Van Martin,
Open Quote
The higher they rise, the harder they fall!
Close Quote
Jasim ,India
England

France's bad luck with injuries this time only makes up for their incredibly good luck in the two tournaments they won. They had a great draw in 1998, reaching the final by playing Paraguay and Croatia, who were good but hardly world class, and scraping past Italy on penalties. In Euro 2000 they rode their luck on the pitch, beating Portugal with a dubious late penalty and Italy with a last-minute equaliser then a golden goal. What goes around comes around!
Jeremy, UK

Understandably I feel shock at France's early exit from the World Cup. An indication that the world is catching up with the best and that nothing can be taken for granted. It's a shame for such a magnificent side and the loss of Zidane from the world stage is a pity. Better luck next time....
Carl, England

Of course France are not *all* luck, but you also can't live on arrogance about past glories. Football changes month in month out. France expected to be in the last 16. They probably expected to make the semis before any serious expectations of losing came along. They have some great talent out there but it's a simple case of getting outside on the grass and doing it now, not four years ago.

Open Quote
The World Cup will be all the poorer for the real France failing to turn-up
Close Quote
Damian, UK
Teams like England in the past have expected too much from the glory days by looking at players they remember fondly, myself included. The reality is you need fresh legs out there and to keep your team evolving!
Mrs George Morgan,England, UK

Nice to see Henry having to eat his words about how the French team has great team spirit and the English team didn't! France didn't have the gile and the heart to dig deep and deserve to be out of the World Cup.The coach has to take the blame for not showing any inventions in the team's format and ways to get goals. It's foolish to blame the lack of Zidane in the earlier games as their excuse for poor performances.

France has a lot of talent and either it wasn't used right or the right people weren't picked for the squad.
Open Quote
France? Who are they? Are they the ones who were eliminated by Dennmark?
Close Quote
Ilia Komo,
Either way it was a very poor showing not to even score with the talent they possess!
Ketan, UK

I do not think the French can blame their failure on bad luck. They looked very badly prepared for all of their group games. I think they underestimated all of their opponents and were arrogantly waiting for the knockout stages. Desailly even boasted that his family were not setting off to Japan until the group stages were out of the way. They won the last world cup by playing as a cohesive unit but their shape has been in disarray in every game.
Nicky Quinn,Scotland

The names were there, the skills were there but not one player knew it or believed it. They played like a second division side in an FA cup tie with a first division side.
Lena Samuels, UK

Well, bye bye les bleus. Will miss seeing Henry, Zidane and Trezeguet, but happy to see the back of your ageing defence. Maybe France will now have the courage to sweep out the old guard and bring in their talented young players.
Ian, England

To see multi-million dollar players being humbled by less fancied players is what the world cup is about. France failed because of an over reliance on the tried and tested and a failure to believe in the new and the young.
Paul Sullivan, Jamaica

Arrogance, complacency, and underestimating their opponents has costs France a very realistic chance of winning their second World Cup. Clearly, what they have shown us is far below their capabilities. How embarrassing! The defeats against Russia and Belgium in friendlies should have been a warning, instead France ignored everything. As much as it hurts me saying it, they deserve to go back home. Let this be a painful lesson for future competitions.
Robert Poisson, France

Open Quote
They were unlucky never to have their best eleven
Close Quote
Nolberto Iceberg, England
France were not been lucky in their first two matches. But against Denmark it was not a question of luck, the French team played badly. It was obvious that the French players did not want to make any effort. Now the coach will have to explain to the supporters how with the best goal scorer of the English, Italian and French championship the French team could not score even once in this World Cup.
Julien, France

It's really very disappointing and unbelievable that France are out of World Cup. Having a squad which includes top scorers from three top leagues in the world and having the worlds most expensive player together with the worlds finest in defence, it's really a shame on them that they can't make it to the second round. I think all this is because Lemerre is reluctant to try new ideas. but now it's time for them to say goodbye. Time for change - "Allez les Bleus!"
Abdulla Miad,Maldives

They were unlucky never to have their best eleven (no Pires, Zidane, Henry or Petit) but you'd expect better from World Champions than to go out without a goal. Their squad looks good on paper but proved age is a disadvantage and complacency most damaging. All of this is encouraging for England as we would definitely prefer Senegal/Denmark to France in Round two
Nolberto Iceberg, England

Open Quote
France relied too much on Zidane
Close Quote
Ben, England

I think it is brilliant that France are out, and I can't believe the excuses already being made about injuries. England have had Beckham, Butt and Dyer not fully fit and no Murphy or Gerrard. In addition, we have been in the Group of Death. France have no excuses and the World Cup will be better off without them.
Steve,England

Paris is in mourning today. For the last four years France have become accustomed to being hailed as champions. For a few months, though, complacency has snuck in by the back door, and despite a few disastrous friendlies, Les Bleus have failed to shake themselves up.

Some French blame the lack of cohesive drive and urgency to an 'old-boy network' approach to selection, where the opinions of senior key players from '98 had significant impact on who made the starting 11 in this World Cup.
Ben Scales, France

F - Fail
R - Respect - they showed none
A - Arrogance
N - Never looked likely to win
C - Complete Embarrassment
E - End of the line.
Richard,England

Open Quote
Complacency, indiscipline and poor form has cost France
Close Quote
Bamutaze Yazidhi, Uganda

As with most things in life, the harder you work or train the better the rewards. The problem with the French is the typical arrogance and the mindset that they only had to turn up play a few games and get into the final.

They will claim, as Arsene Wenger did, that they are tired after playing too many games, but that didn't seem to be the case for the other 90-plus players playing in the English football league.
Brian Dickson, England

France relied too much on Zidane, and there was no player who could create in his absence. As a team they did not seem to have the hunger to win. There was no natural leader on the pitch like there was when Deschamps was playing.

Petit was dreadful in midfield and Vieira was not much better. The back four looked vulnerable against pace and the strikers did not seem to play for each other. Roger Lemerre's decision to keep old players in the squad ahead of young talent did not do their cause any good either - dreadful.
Ben, England

In the last World Cup, France won without a recognised world-class striker. This time they had four and failed to score. Ironic!
John, UK

Open Quote
They failed to make any impact on the game or the competition
Close Quote
Andy B, England
Complacency, indiscipline and poor form has cost France. Go back to the drawing board and we will hopefully see you in 2006!
Bamutaze Yazidhi, Uganda

Excellent result, if you are English.
Gary Boardman, England

I wonder what odds you would have been given for France failing to score a single goal in the tournament?
Gordon, England

They failed to make any impact on the game or the competition. The teams they played were lucky but France were just too arrogant and deserved nothing.
Andy B, England

France deserved to go out. If they cannot produce a result against Senegal, Denmark or Uruguay then they wouldn't have had a hope against the likes of England, Brazil or even Argentina.
Sean, UK

The way the Denmark game is being billed, Zidane will either be the biggest saviour or the biggest flop. In a way, it's unfair for him to be put in such a position. But without Zizou, France lack any creative breakthrough against resilient defensive walls.
Will,UK

France clearly is a better team then they have shown so far, but they will need a lot of luck to beat Denmark if the Danes play as well as against Uruguay.
AN, England

Open Quote
Forget reputations and how teams compare on paper, the plain truth is that on current form Denmark are as good a team as France
Close Quote
John Moore, England
The problem with France first of all is the reluctance to try new ideas; I believe the performance against Uruguay showed the class on the substitute bench, with players such as Micoud. Lemerre has made some very big mistakes playing the likes of Leboeuf, Djorkaeff and Dugarry. With respect to Leboeuf his injury might provide an opportunity for Philippe Christanval to show the class of upcoming players.

Secondly, it is shameful that French team believe that the absence of one player (Zidane, of course!) has led to the results so far, the results so far are due to a collective poor performance well below average. So out with the old and in with the new!
Yann,UK

Without Henry and a suspect Zidane at best, France for the first time in the last four years have their backs well and truly plastered to the wall. We will now see what they are really made of and if they possess the strength and character to get out of this one then the other teams had better watch out. Personally I don't think they will do it as it would require an even better performance than England's over Argentina and that would be some feat...
Jamie, England

Forget reputations and how teams compare on paper, the plain truth is that on current form Denmark are as good a team as France. This makes a two goal victory for France quite unlikely.True, the Danish defenders are not the quickest, but they do have lots of experience and are well-organised. Pace is not everything. Also, France will be without Henry.Let's not forget that Denmark also has pace on the wings and they could grab a goal. For me, it all adds up to a French disappointment.
John Moore, England

I'm quite amazed how even though France have had a bad spell in the 2002 World Cup there is still great confidence amongst the French that they will somehow pull a miracle out the bag. Also they believe that the presence of one player will make such a great difference.

It is time to face the real world and look at the bigger picture. Otherwise France can kiss their World Cup dreams goodbye! Time for change, hard work and fancy French style - "Allez les Bleus!"
Yann,Frenchman in UK

Open Quote
The French have only themselves to blame.
Close Quote
Eric, USA
The French should stop relying on luck to win games and blaming opponents when they lose. I'm all for France but enough is enough, go kick some football now
ZBS, Malaysia

Les Bleus exiting without a fight: never! It is preposterous to suggest that France will not be able to rescue their World Cup ambitions. Roger Lemerre must be confident that his pacy attack line can unlock the sluggish Danish back line.
Bobby Seagull, England

I think now it is beyond France ability to pull it out of the fire. I think they were too relaxed in beginning this world cup and thought they could cruise to an easy qualification. I would like to see them progress, just to see the old flowing play from France '98.
Rufus, UK

No Zinadine, no France?!
MHPD,India

Open Quote
France's biggest problem is their coach.
Close Quote
Van Martin, England
The French have only themselves to blame. They have young talents but none of those were selected for the 23 squad. Lemerre has always been a bad coach without vision when he recalled aging player like Leboeuf, Djorkaeff, Dugarry, and Boghosian into the squad. It is the Gallic super ego that prevents them from thinking straight.

To think that they can beat the Danes by a two-goal difference is a ridiculous notion that only insane people can think of. France will not advance to the second round. But I hope France can advance so that they will play against England; I want to see if England have the talents like they have trumpeted on the news.
Eric, USA

I do not understand comments pointing out French arrogance and Barthez's mistakes (TTG is probably not a big fan of MU!). As a matter of fact, they have won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 Euro, right?

Maybe they will go home early this time, maybe the defence is not as fit as it used to be, and probably the outcome would have been different with Zidane playing. But no one can deny that the game against Uruguay was entertaining. And the next one against Denmark should be even more so!
Jean-Yves C., France

France's biggest problem is their coach. He should have brought Gallas to the side. Leboeuf would struggle to get into the England 11. Gallas was one of Chelsea's best players this season, including Desailly.

Open Quote
They look like the World Cup chumps!
Close Quote
Tom Y, USA

If Lemerre ahd taken him they would have been a bit more solid. I think the midfield doesn't offer enough protection to the defence and Dugarry.. give me a break. Put in Cisse and Trezeguet and you should be fine.
Van Martin,England

Yeah, France is full of luck... that's why they have lost only five or six games in more than a hundred played these last six years. That's why they have won the World Cup, the European Cup and the Confederation Cup these last four years. And that's why every team they face are so terorised that they play with seven, eight or nine defenders, even when France has only 10 players on the field.

Well, I hope luck will allow them to beat Denmark with two clear goals. Because you surely think that without luck France couldn't achieve that? Mmmm we'll see, but don't bury them too quickly, if they manage it they may encounter England ...
Tovmassian Laurent, France

Okay, now I almost feel sympathy for the French team. They are in serious danger of not advancing past the FIRST ROUND! Aren't the French the '98 World Cup champs? They look like the World Cup chumps!
Tom Y., USA

The French have been caught flat footed now on two occasions. Please make your way to the departure lounge - it's a long flight home so get comfortable. Can a stewardess please hold Barthez's drink for him just in case it slips out of his hands?
Terence Trent Gotham, England

Open Quote
To be judged as world champions a team must prove it in every game they play
Close Quote
Neil, England
The French players are clearly struggling with fatigue from the strenuous domestic season, as most of the team play at very big domestic clubs. There needs to be a longer rest period before the World Cup. Besides, even if the French team do fail to qualify I am certain they will bounce back stronger once their excellent youth team come of age.
Mike H, Iceland

I think that France have been treated unfairly in this World Cup. Lots of bad decisions and lucky underdogs have plagued them since the cup kicked off, and now Henry is suspended, but I think they'll thrash Denmark 4-0 in their final game and proceed.
Lee Collier, England

I hope this proves to the French that you can't win a tournament on arrogance alone. To be judged as world champions a team must prove it in every game they play and not live on former glories or how good you think or say you are!
Neil, England

I think that Romero's tackle on Desailly should have been a straight red, because if Henry got sent off for that tackle than so should Romero. It was just as bad!
Sam Howat, England

I really like France but I have two big problems with them. Firstly, their manager. Why does he insist on playing Leboeuf insead of Candela or even Christanval? Granted, Leboeuf has experience but Thuram and Desailly have experience to spare. Leboeuf is slow and a player well past his peak.

Open Quote
People are quick to criticise those who are at the top
Close Quote
Stephane, Scotland/France
Secondly, despite France's flair and flow, they think have a divine right to win (or so it seems). Winning the World and European Cups is an outstanding achievement but it was 2 years ago and their performance against Senegal (apart from being slightly unlucky) was unusually poor. Their passes were inaccurate and their communication was shocking. They are missing Zidane. Come on France!
Ben Wild,England

France still have much to give world football - people are always too quick to criticise when things go wrong at the top. Current World and European Champions - luck does not give you that...they earned it because they are the best. Allez les Bleus - true French fans believe in you!
Buhler, Scotland/France

Senegal definitely deserved their win but the strangest thing for me was to see the comments about the French team made by some of the English fans. I don't understand the grudge they hold against the French. Could it be jealousy? They should be fair and give credit where it's due.
Yasser Hamdi,Saudi Arabia

People are quick to criticise those who are at the top. Also, I don't feel that comments surrounding Zidane are necessary.France are European and World Champions and that's because of eleven players, not one.
Stephane, Scotland/France

Open Quote
It was about time that the French were brought down to Earth
Close Quote
Gavin, England
France lacked the luck they had in the '98 World Cup, and in Euro 2000.

It's not because Zidane wasn't playing, nor because they are tired. In every team there are stars missing, and players who are tired!
Bruno Gangemi, Switzerland

Against Senegal, France underperformed and suffered physically. The Senegalese players got their tactics right, that of defending for most of the game.
Philippe, France

It was about time that the French were brought down to Earth. A defeat against Denmark would be enough for them to go out. It may teach them a lesson!
Gavin, England

Actually, this victory isn't a surprise. Most of French people thought that Senegal is the most dangerous opponent in Group A. Because we can watch them playing in our championship every week, we know better than anyone their talent. Now, I hope for both Senegalese and French teams to pass through the first round.
Pascal, France

Without Zidane, France are like a symphony orchestra without a conductor - plenty of top rate performers but no maestro.
Alistair, England


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