French captain has parting shots for coach
France captain Patrice Evra is furious at coach Raymond Domenech for denying him the chance to apologize to French fans for the team's World Cup debacle, and for dropping him from the last match for "no valid reason."
France was knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday after losing 2-1 in its final group game to South Africa, for which Evra was stripped of the captaincy and left out of the starting lineup.
He was one of six players dropped by Domenech days after a protest by the squad shamed the nation.
"Tonight it's time for the big apology toward the ... French people, because I share the pain of all these French people," Evra said. "What hurts even more is that this apology should have been made yesterday, but my coach stopped me doing it as a captain."
He promised that "France will know the truth."
"There is a cause for all this failure, several things will come out," he said. "Then, if people don't want to forgive, at least they will know the truth."
Meanwhile, French football federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said Tuesday that the World Cup debacle has destroyed "50 years of values" and the national team's wild antics brought "shame" upon the country.
Evra said the whole squad will "give up all the bonuses, we won't accept a single cent" from the World Cup out of shame.
Turmoil off the field has exacerbated poor performances on the pitch. On Sunday, the squad effectively went on strike, refusing to practice in protest at Nicolas Anelka's exclusion from the squad for insulting Domenech at half time during last week's 2-0 loss to Mexico.
Evra said Domenech stopped him attending the pre-match news conference on Monday, which the coach attended alone before describing his players as imbeciles for their protestations.
Domenech criticized his players for locking themselves in a team bus with the curtains drawn, calling it "an aberration, an imbecility, a stupidity without name."
But Evra says the reasons for such a radical protest will come out in the next few days.
"I will say everything I went through as captain," said Evra, who was clearly emotional as he tried to contain his anger. "The whole of France needs to have an explanation for this disaster. It's not the time to give them, but I will personally give them.
"What I went through, just the truth, as quickly as possible, whether it's in a press conference or an interview."
Evra says he will talk "before the end of the week."
The French squad is set to fly home on Wednesday.
"I have nothing to hide. The French team doesn't belong to anyone, it belongs to all of these French people," he said. "I think that the time is for suffering, and it is a sincere suffering."
Domenech was humiliated by his own players last Sunday when he had to read a statement on their behalf in front of a gathering media horde, with disappointed local fans looking on in utter confusion at the team's Knysna training camp.
Evra admits it was a clumsy move to go on strike, but says it was more a cry for help as the players felt increasingly isolated. They opposed the French federation's decision to fire Anelka, and felt let down by their coach for not protecting him more.
"We put out a statement to give a reason, but it goes further than that, I saw it more like an SOS."
Escalettes didn't hold back in his criticism.
"What upsets me the most is the psychodrama of last weekend. Where, for me, 50 years of values crumbled," Escalettes said. "I thought at the time of this shame that football brought to France … That's far worse than poor results."
Escalettes said there will be a FFF federal council meeting early July to discuss what went wrong.
"Everyone will go before the federal council, the president, the players, the coach, the medical staff, to see who is responsible," he said. "There will probably be sanctions, but I can't pre-empt what the council will decide."
With Domenech's troubled six-year reign at an end, former France defender Laurent Blanc has a lot of work to do.
"The rebuilding will be done around Laurent Blanc … a page has been turned," Escalettes said. "It won't be the same team. … I have total confidence on Laurent Blanc as a man, as a coach."