Football Karma

If there is anything like karma in sport, we witnessed it in Group A of the World Cup. France only made it to the competition through cheating in the final qualifying match against Ireland, when Thierry Henry used his left hand twice to guide the ball so he could kick the all important goal. Both the referee and the linesman missed the red card foul.

At the World Cup, the performance of the French team, who were highly fancied, has been embarrassing at best, and the behavior off the field can only be described as shameful. The latest implosion began when one of the star players, Nicolas Anelka, was sent home for an abusive outburst at the manager Raymond Domenech, a man who was not above using astrology to make some of his roster decisions. To support Anelka, the team refused to practice and watched television instead. Domenech had to read a statement from the team to the press. His replacement was announced before the last humiliating game. The players had lost confidence in him, if they ever had much to begin with. After the last match, a 2:1 defeat by lowly South Africa, Domenech refused the customary handshake with South Africa’s Brazilian coach. The French players, who flew to South Africa first class, were sent home on a cheap charter flight.

In the end, many of the French fans were rooting for South Africa and, when France was eliminated, the Irish were celebrating.