Despite progressing to the 2010 World Cup last night, the French supporters still feel home is where the hatred is.
French football fans are not unhappy with their captain Thierry Henry, but with their manager Raymond Domenech.
After Thierry Henry scored that controversial goal against Ireland last night, the home fans in the Stade de France obligingly celebrated with glee.
Yes, they were not to know that the deft control by Henry was crafted by his left hand, before the striker crossed for his former Arsenal teammate William Gallas to head in for the vital equaliser.
They were cheering because they got very, very lucky and were heading to next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
It was another poor performance by the French, and it was only after the game when the French decided to vocalise their discontent.
If you ask a French fan how they feel regarding the result they will reply ashamedly, confessing that the best team didn’t go through, before spouting a personal tirade on Domenech.
It’s difficult to find a friend of Domenech, with many claiming the former Lyon player/manager couldn’t manage himself out of a paper bag. Popular words used to describe him are incompetent, unfit and stupid.
Yes they were not best pleased that their captain Henry handled the ball before setting up the equalisier; yes, many venomously admit that the performance by Les Bleus was inadequate, like many previous performances; and of course, the fans are more than willing to confess that Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish side deserved to go through and not France.
However, when your team play as bad as France did last night yet still come out on top, you are, deep down, very pleased. The result was a great escape and apart from gaining a win or progression, you see it as a sign of greater things to come.
Henry will not be targeted by the French as a cheat like the rest of the world because the French have bigger fish to fry in the shape of Raymond Domenech.
French football writer, Phillippe Auclair, seemed to be speaking for many French fans when he told Radio Five Live not so much how they hated being unwarranted winners, but how angry they are that their talented team will continue to be lead astray come next June.
He pointed out that “Domenech is a picture of ridicule” in France and lacks respect from not only the fans, who continued to boo him when he appeared on the giant screen at the match, but also the players.
And whereas Giovanni Trapattoni is a “master,” by comparison, Domenech is somebody who “doesn’t even deserve to be called an apprentice”.
France would never contemplate replaying the match; but swapping managers with the Irish? They’d bite your hand off.