First Look: With shake of the head, but not hand, Domenech goes

Raymond DomenechFrance [ ] concluded a disastrous World Cup campaign with one more controversy on Tuesday when coach Raymond Domenech refused to shake hands with his opposite number after South Africa's 2-1 victory.

The result sent both countries out of the World Cup in what was each coach's last game in the national hot seat, after Mexico and Uruguay sealed the last 16 spots from Group A.

Domenech, however, reserved all his remaining good will for his players and countrymen and none for Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

The Frenchman, who greeted members of his beleaguered squad with a handshake after the match, refused to give a reason for snubbing Parreira.

The Brazilian was more forthcoming, if a little bemused.

"(Domenech said to me) I don't want to talk to you because you make bad words against my national team. For the life of me I can't remember what I have said," the 67-year-old told reporters.

Parreira said a French assistant told him he "made a comment to the effect that France perhaps shouldn't have been here" after Thierry Henry's [ ] infamous handball helped France to a World Cup playoff win over Ireland.

"I do not remember to quote something like this," said Parreira, who won the World Cup with Brazil [ ] in 1994.

France, World Cup runners-up four years ago, finished the group bottom on one point after a draw and two defeats in a campaign riddled with internal arguments that led to striker Nicolas Anelka [ ] being sent home and players striking in training.

When asked if any of the players refused to play against South Africa [ ] at the Free State stadium, Domenech said: "Refuse? No. Eric Abidal [ ] wasn't in a state to be able to play and he came and told me that so I preferred he sat on the bench."

Domenech had met media alone on the eve of the game to give his views on recent events, when he described his squad's refusal to train in protest of Anelka's ejection at the weekend for comments made to the coach as an "aberration."


However, defender Patrice Evra [ ], who was dropped to the bench and replaced as captain for Tuesday's match said the players' reasons will be made clear soon enough.

"It's time for us to apologise. It hurts even more because that could have been done yesterday (Monday). I could have done it as the team captain but the coach would not let me," Evra told reporters.

"I promise to tell the truth about every minute of what I went through. French people need to know the truth because the France team belongs to them and nobody else," he added.

Despite his recent plight, Domenech's reflection on his national tenure remained positive: "Good luck to my successor and the French team.

"I am France's first new fan. I have had six exceptional years, both good times and bad, I really hope the French team succeed, it has been an honour," he said.

"I'm not concerned about myself but for the French team's future. I believe the team has a future and that they will also be able to get to the next World Cup," he added before confirming they will depart for Paris on Wednesday.