Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has been sent home after a bust up with France coach Raymond Domenech.
A statement from the French Football Federation branded Anelka's behaviour as "totally acceptable." The statement continued:
"Faced by the refusal of the player to publicly apologise, he (Escalettes) took the decision in total agreement with the coach and the official members of the delegation present to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad."
SkySports is reporting that Anelka has consequently decided to retire from international football.
Anelka was substituted at half-time as France lost 2-0 to Mexico in their second group game, leaving them facing a tough task to qualify from group A. According French newspaper L’Equipe the Chelsea forward unleashed a verbal barrage at Domenech.
France play South Africa in their last group game needing a win to stand any hope of progressing. These chances have taken another blow as Anelka, who started both games as France’s lone striker, has been sent home by the FFF.
Rumours began emerging from South Africa after the Frenchman failed to appear for training on Saturday.
What impact will Anelka’s absence have on the team? It’s hard to say, his scoring record is poor for his national side but he is a respected senior player within the France camp. Despite his ineffectual display against Mexico, his side were drawing 0-0 when he was taken off.
His replacement, Andre-Pierre Gignac didn’t fare any better against the Mexican defence.
The France coach sounded like a man without any ideas after the defeat:
"If we had the answers then we could have done something about it," he said. "We had good intentions and desire. I feel just like all of the fans, all the French people. It's more than just a disappointment.
"At the moment, I don't know what I will say to the players," he continued. "We have to be strong and at least play for our honour. At least we must show something in the last match."
Whatever happens, it’s a sign that everything is falling apart within the French camp. The sooner the tournament is over, the better. Domenech has been a disaster for France.
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