France Euro 2012: Laurent Blanc Admits to Feud After Sweden Defeat

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Jun 21, 2012 03:58 AM EDT
France Squad
France players argued among themselves after their shock loss to Sweden"


France are in danger of another feud ruining their campaign in a major championship, with coach Laurent Blanc admitting there were some heated arguments between players after his side's disappointing loss to Sweden in the final Group D game on Tuesday.

France's 2010 World Cup campaign was infamously tarnished when players went on strike after former coach Raymond Domenech decided to send Nicolas Anelka home. There were shades of that on Tuesday after the Euro 2000 champions' abject performance against the already eliminated Swedes, led to some players pointing fingers.

Blanc admitted there was some friction, but said they would need that passion if they are to stand a chance against defending champions Spain. "Yes, it got a bit heated, but then everyone had a cold shower," Blanc told reporters.

"It shows that there was a bit of electricity. I hope there will be against Spain, because we'll need it."

Florent Malouda, France's most experienced player, chose not to speak after the 2-0 defeat, because he was afraid of what he might say. "What I saw awoke some demons in me and I didn't want to express myself.

"Because in the heat of the moment there was the risk of launching rockets and missiles. There are some things to sort out and sometimes you can really hurt someone with a comment that you make."

The Chelsea midfielder admitted some players went after each other in the dressing room, suggesting Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri was the main target. Nasri has had problems with team-mates before, with the midfielder famously falling out with former Arsenal and France team-mate William Gallas. "Sometimes you need to aim a few bursts of gunfire at each other," Malouda said.

"We said quite a few things to each other in the changing room, which is a good thing as it's proof that we have temperament and character.

"Balance is fragile and when you start thinking you're at the Euro to shine individually then the wheels can start to come off. You pay very dearly for every error at a Euro. There's personal objectives and then there are collective objectives."

"It's difficult to point fingers at people after a defeat in terms of how they played or their personal objectives. Samir's way of playing hasn't changed overnight but that's also one of his qualities.

"He scored an important goal against England. But as an experienced player I can say that there is a balance to be found between the team and your personal objectives.

"But it's in these moments that you shouldn't point the finger at people, it's at times like this that you really need to have a discussion between the players."

Malouda, who admitted to being disappointed at being dropped after France's opening game against England, said teamwork would be essential against Spain and admitted if France were to play anything like they did against Sweden, they were in for another heavy loss. "In modern football and especially against Spain, who have an extraordinary control of the ball, you have to run a lot but you also have to be disciplined. They create space and they make such intelligent runs that they will find a weakness.

"If we don't sort things out before Saturday, with the opponent that's coming up, the defeat could be heavy."

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who will replace the suspended Philippe Mexes in the quarters against Spain, admitted to the disagreement. "When we got back to the dressing room we knew we hadn't performed as we should have done and some things were said ... things that will stay between us."



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