Samir Nasri Loses His Head After French Defeat in Euro 2012 Quarterfinals
After finalizing a protracted transfer from Arsenal to Manchester City last August, which had resulted in a cacophony of vitriolic responses from Arsenal supporters, Nasri had spent the entire season taking exception and firing back less-than-gentlemanly remarks in the press.
It got so heated that even Jack Wilshere responded to Nasri's comments about Arsenal finishing in third place in the Premier League for 2011-12. "Hopefully we can rub it in (Nasri's) face next year," Wilshere told the Telegraph.
But Nasri had taken a step back after the season, and had looked to reinvent himself at the European Championships with France, where he was going to be counted upon as one of the star attractions.
"I've matured, I'm now a champion in England and can handle these pressure situations," Sports Illustrated's Ben Lyttleton recalled Nasri telling France Football before the Euros.
Some of that rang true. After three trophy-less seasons at Arsenal, Nasri has tasted silverware with Manchester City (winners of the Premier League in 2011-12) since moving from Marseille to England.
But just as the zebra finds it difficult to change his stripes, so too did Nasri fail to remove the childish tag from himself in Poland and Ukraine.
After journalists from French daily L'Equipe had questioned Nasri's place within the France starting lineup after the Mancunian's indifferent showings during the three warm-up friendlies preceding the Euros, Nasri responded with a crucial equalizing goal in France's first group stage match against England on June 11.
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The goal should have been enough for him, capping what was altogether a very good performance. But Nasri needed more satisfaction.
After watching his sublime strike from 20 yards bounce past the helpless England keeper Joe Hart, Nasri ran in the direction of the assembled media at the match and, raising a finger to his lips in the iconic "shushing" manner, was seen mouthing "Shut your face!" in the direction of a L'Equipe journalist.
Nasri had received a note of seven from L'Equipe (print edition) for his performance against the Three Lions, with the daily glossing that he had been "one of the few French players to emerge during the debut of the match," and had been the foremost danger man for the French in attack.
No hard feelings.
But things went downhill from there. After France's emphatic 2-0 victory over Ukraine in the second group stage match, Les Bleus laid an egg against Sweden in their final game, losing 2-0 and looking altogether listless and bereft of ideas in attack.
Nasri was criticized more than most for slowing down play in the attacking third, and failing to link the midfield to the attack from his position of attacking central midfielder.
Defensive midfielder Alou Diarra then took exception to Nasri and a host of other French attackers in the dressing room following the Sweden match. Diarra was upset with Nasri's disinclination to track back in defense during the match.
Nasri responded with a heated set of words, and it appeared there might be a polemic building until Blanc played down the bust-up and turned attention toward the quarterfinal the defending European and world champions Spain.
Only Nasri didn't start against the Spanish.
Blanc opted for a hyper-defensive lineup against La Furia Roja, with right-backs Anthony Reveillere and Mathieu Debucy taking up the positions of right-back and right-winger, respectively, and Florent Malouda and Yohan Cabaye coming in for Nasri and Diarra in midfield.
Nasri didn't come on until the second half, and failed to make much of an impression as France slumped to a thoroughly disappointing 2-0 defeat in which they managed just four shots on goal—their lowest tally for more than six years.
If there weren't fireworks provided by him on the field, though, Nasri made sure to ignite some in the post-match media zone.
L'Equipe have reported that Nasri told a journalist from AFP (Agence France Presse) that "you journalists are always looking for s---," while also telling the journalists gathered in the local proximity to "go f--- yourselves, you sons of b----es; now you can go write that I was poorly raised."
The outburst has been confirmed by a host of different sources who witnessed the "interview" in the media zone.
It was merely the latest outburst in a string of many from Nasri during these European Championships and, to a greater extent, this entire calendar year.
He has burned bridges at Arsenal, and now he will have some serious public relations work ahead of him when it comes to the French national setup.
Time will only tell if he can make a recovery.
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