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Mid-Day Ticker: More French drama, Kaita receives threats and more



"Crazy Ray" has struck again.

French coach Raymond Domenech is at the center of yet more drama after getting into an argument with an assistant coach and having his team walk out of practice Sunday.

Domenech has already polarized players through his lineup selection and has sent starting striker Nicolas Anelka home for subordination. The latest incident caused assistant coach Robert Duverne to rip his credential off and heave it after heated discussions, first with captain Patrice Evra, then with Domenech. The players then closed up shop and boarded the bus.

Team director Jean-Louis Valentin resigned from the French Football Federation following the final dust-up.

Here's (rough) video of the altercation:

France faces host South Africa on Tuesday with an outside chance at still qualifying for the knockout stage. Should Les Bleus not make it through, Domenech's tenuous tenure as coach will be over, as Laurent Blanc has already been appointed as his successor.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:


Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita, who received the red card that paved the way for Greece to defeat the Super Eagles, has reportedly received more than 1,000 death threats since Thursday's match.

Kaita shoved and attempted to kick Vasilis Torosidis after being taunted with the ball out of bounds. Kaita was shown a straight red, and Greece scored two goals with a man-advantage to secure a 2-1, come-from-behind victory. 

Despite the loss and an 0-2-0 start to the World Cup, Nigeria can still make it through to the knockout stage with a win over South Korea and help from Argentina, which plays Greece.

A Nigeria team spokesman says the Super Eagles have contacted FIFA and the Nigerian government to seek out protection for Kaita.


Portugal midfielder Deco has been ruled out of the team's match against North Korea on Monday after injuring his hip in training. 

Deco was one of the more creative forces Portugal had in its opener against the Ivory Coast until he was subbed off in the 62nd minute by Tiago.

Tiago is expected to take his place in the starting lineup, though that decision hasn't been finalized yet.


Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said that Arjen Robben's return to action is up to the player. Robben, who injured his hamstring in a pre-World Cup friendly, has participated in a couple of full training sessions and is nearing game-fitness.

The Dutch have been able to win without their star winger, as they've already clinched a spot among the final 16 teams after victories over Denmark and Japan. Their final match comes against Cameroon, which has already been eliminated from contention.


Major League Soccer teams went 4-for-4 in friendlies Saturday, getting in some game action before the World Cup break ends on June 25.


Is there anything else that could happen with France that would surprise you anymore? Did you think Kaita deserved the straight red? Think Deco's absence will hurt Portugal? Should Robben play in the final group game? Excited for MLS games to start up again?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Lalas is awesome as a commentator – and good for him for stickin’ it to McManamon on the air – (when referring to the three kittens squad), “Uh huh, and maybe they are over-rated? Uh, huh – they just aren’t that good, they just aren’t that good…”

    He should have added – “Oh and by the way – about WW-II, don’t mention it mate. It was nothin, – we weren’t going to use all those airplanes anyways…..”

    And to the one who said something about the Euro commentators sneering at Lalas with the “I played in (whatever Euro league you like), and you played in MLS,” look on their faces. Uhhhh – dude, Alxi Lalas is from New f-ing Jersey – was an All-American at Rutgers, played in a World Cup for the USA that qualified for the knock out round, and played and started as R-back for a Serie A team in Italy – that is equal to soccer royalty………..!!! Where have you been?!

  2. Lalas in the broadcast booth is something to enjoy. Lalas the GM who destroyed two teams, that’s the guy you should loath.

  3. I wonder what goes through McManaman’s head and Gullit’s (leaving aside the Galaxy-related issues) when Lalas talks back at them and counters their points… they always have that incredulous “I played for Madrid/Milan, you played in MLS, what do you know about football?” look on their face…

    I keep waiting for one of them to trump Lalas with it… it’s the same as if they placed some ex-CBA player next to Kenny and Charles on TNT- they’d never let him live that down…

  4. Does anyone else remember when Lalas said he was going to make Red Bulls into a “super club”…then bailed to LA before getting canned? I do.

    And I further remember when he went on Fox Football Fone-in and got torn to shreds by callers. I do not like him too much and I still felt bad for him…

  5. I got exactly the same translation, the audio comes in when they explain the two coaches who left and then the team left the pitch… essentially what has been covered everywhere else.

  6. The French should not have made it into this tournament and I will be happy to see them go home.

    Too bad we could not have seen Ireland instead of this tournaments joke called France.

    Brings a smile to my face

  7. Exactly. The blame lies entirely on the French Federation for creating this mess of a situation. Who in their right mind thought that firing your coach before the world cup, then leaving him there for the tournament, would be a good idea?

  8. That brit in the studios is an idiot. He annoys the piss outta me and I’m glad Lalas is taking him to task right now. 🙂

  9. I’m looking forward to MLS starting again, mainly b/c I have tickets for 2 straight home games with my Crew! It’s been too long since I’ve been to one of them (hey, I live in NC, whaddaya want?!)

  10. If you ask me the Italians are “garbage”, not the French. It was a long time ago now but the way they won the last world cup was stomach turning. The Italians are the one’s with a history of doing anything to win. Just look at their league.

  11. This World Cup is turning into a lot of fun both on and off the field.

    I am definitely in the pro Lalas camp. Lalas’s passion really shines through; he really cares and he take no crap from anyone including former English Stars.

    After that F bomb report and discussion of the complete mess that were the French I just loved the seque “And then you have the English”….

    Absolutely hysterical….

  12. This started when the French bombed out of Euro 08, and Domenech dodged criticism after the match by announcing that he gotten engaged.

  13. I dont know why everyone keeps dogging on Lalas for taking a jab at England when Steve started it all with the “I dont know why we cant win against these POOR teams, no offense to the US”

    How can you say that to a channel that is for the US audience? Of course we will be offended and so was Lalas. That is why he wouldnt stop saying that England is just “arent that good” and wouldnt drop it. I dont care what ppl say about Lalas but if someone were to defend US soccer honor, ill gladly have Lalas do it!

  14. The team has been unified? Are you kidding me? Gourcuff was essentially forced out of the team by other players. He apparently eats all his meals by himself. In the Mexico game, he was wide open at one point and was deliberately not passed to. Clearly that’s the coaches doing right?

  15. Yes, the term cheating has nothing to do with getting caught. Cheating is doing something against the rules to get an advantage. It’s still cheating even if you don’t get caught.

  16. My favorite Lalas’ moments were his persistent digs at McManaman after the England-Algeria draw. Lalas kept saying that for all their fame and high salaries, the England players were not that good. McManaman kept staring daggers at Lalas and burbling about how they were great players, but not a great team. When Lalas refused to drop the point (and kept repeating it), I thought Steve was going to leap across the table and throttle him. That I would have paid to see.

  17. Bad karma. At this point the best thing France could do is to lay down for South Africa. A 4-0 win would do nicely for the hosts.


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