The story appears on

Page A13

September 8, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Henry rocks the boat ahead of crucial tie

FRANCE players are getting bored during training sessions and are lost on the pitch, striker Thierry Henry was quoted as telling coach Raymond Domenech yesterday.

"Coach, we have something to tell you. I am speaking in the name of the squad. We are getting bored during your training sessions," Henry told Domenech at the training camp on Friday, the daily Le Parisien reported.

"In 12 years with the French team, I have never been in such a situation. We do not know how to play, where to be on the pitch, how to organise. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working," said Henry, France's top scorer with 49 goals from 112 caps.

The French federation declined to comment on the matter.

France is likely to need a playoff to book its ticket to the 2010 World Cup following a 1-1 home draw against Romania on Saturday that left the former world champion trailing Serbia by four points in Group 7. It travels to Serbia tomorrow.

Domenech took charge of the national side in 2004, with France reaching the World Cup final in 2006 before being knocked out in the first round of Euro 2008.

France can expect a hostile reception at Belgrade's sold-out Red Star stadium with the Serbs one win away from a World Cup berth. Such was the demand for Wednesday's match that Red Star's 60,000-capacity stadium could reportedly have been filled four times over, and the French are bracing themselves for a hard contest.

"It will be a fight. They will be waiting for us," France winger Franck Ribery said. "The fans will get behind them and they will be really up for beating us."

But Henry maintained that his team will not fold under pressure no matter how volatile the atmosphere is in Belgrade.

"The Serbs will be playing at home so it's good for them, but I don't think it will be a disadvantage for us," Henry said on Sunday. "They're a good team, they're in great form at the moment, but I've been playing for a while and it's not a stadium that's going to frighten me."

Former Serbia and Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic believes coach Radomir Antic is finally harnessing the team's potential.

"The Serbian players always knew how to play, but the difference this time is that we're finally getting results," Milosevic said.

France beat Serbia 2-1 when the teams last met at Stade de France in September 2008.

"If we have to go through the playoffs, we will. If we don't finish first we'll have to make sure we finish second, even though it's sad to say," Henry said. "Since I've been in the French team we've often got in through the back door. Whatever happens, we have to get to South Africa."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend