In the end, twenty-one was a step too far. After a score of undefeated games, Laurent Blanc’s respectable stewardship of Les Blues finally imploded as France – like a snooty waiter faced with a diner blithely ordering a Cabernet Sauvignon with his salade niçoise – reverted to the Frenchest version of themselves.
Following their louche abdication of a performance against Sweden, the France dressing room become once more the scene of feathered egos, bitter recriminations and spectacular misjudgements of the appropriate time to take a phone call – with Hatem Ben Arfa apparently deciding that it was good to talk to someone else, rather than take part in the discussion over who in the team wasn’t pulling their weight. Meanwhile, Samir Nasri decided that he was being unfairly singled out for entirely just criticism by his teammates, and set about constructing a set of beautifully aerodynamic toys that would travel far and true when hurled from his pram.
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