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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
French fans shrug off exit
France fans in Incheon try to come to terms with their team's demise
Humiliation: France are the worst ever champions

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France fans seemed to take their unbelievably early exit from the World Cup with a shrug of the shoulders and a c'est la vie attitude.

The holders are packing their bags and heading home after managing only one point from their three Group A games.

That miserable statistic saw them become the first holders since Brazil in 1966 to fail to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Open Quote
We're a little bit sad but the match was OK and we had a good time
Close Quote
A French fan shrugs off defeat
And Brazil will be grateful to Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen for ridding them of another unwanted record.

Sorensen's clean sheet means France have the worst strikeforce of any defending champions - eclipsing Brazil's 193-minute scoreless run in 1974.

But at least the long drawn-out nature of France's demise at this year's tournament gave their fans time to get used to the idea.

Defeat in the opening game against Senegal, a former French colony, sewed the seeds of doubt.

A goalless draw in a bruising encounter with Uruguay followed, before Tuesday's 2-0 reverse against the Danes.

A young fan looks on forlornly as France lose 2-0 to Denmark
France's frontmen could not lift their fans with a goal
The French have also hit the woodwork at least once in all three games, adding to the frustrations of their players and fans.

It just wasn't their tournament, a fact not lost on their travelling supporters.

"We're a little bit sad but the match was OK and we had a good time," said Boussion, who said she felt France were simply unlucky.

"I think it was just down to bad luck," she said.

"We had many chances throughout the game but no goals in the tournament is frustrating."

Lady Luckless

It was a feeling shared by many French fans, forlornly walking away from Incheon's Munhak Stadium and towards the long flight home.

"We were unlucky, that's all," said Carl Nielsen who, with a surname like that, could have been cheering for either team.

But he insisted: "I might sound half Danish, but I'm not - so I'm not at all happy."

"We are on our way home," said another French fan, Danny, his bottom lip almost grazing on the pavement.

"I work for Air France and we will be taking these fans home."

At least Danny's connections should ensure him a swift exit.

Just like his team.


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GROUP A
  P GD PTS
DENMARK 3 +3 7
SENEGAL 3 +1 5
URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1

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