Raymond Domenech has avoided the axe and will stay on as France coach despite a humiliating first-round exit at Euro 2008.
Domenech keeps French post
PARIS // Raymond Domenech has avoided the axe and will stay on as coach of the French national team despite a humiliating first-round exit at last month's Euro 2008 tournament, said the French Football Federation (FFF). The decision - taken at a Paris meeting between the FFF President Jean-Pierre Escalettes and several council members - means Domenech, 56, gets a chance to lead Les Bleus to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The FFF president said he did not want to make a rash decision based on the public outcry that followed Euro 2008, where France suffered a humiliating 4-1 loss to Holland, defeat to Italy and could only manage a draw against Romania. "Domenech's record is not that bad as coach," said Mr Escalettes. "It is not catastrophic. He qualified us two straight times for a major competition (the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008). "I did not want emotion and passion to get the better of reason," Mr Escalettes added. However, he insisted that Domenech must improve his current communication strategy, criticising the coach for remarks that were "sometimes like pouring vinegar on a wound". "That has to change to reconcile him with the French fans," he said. The former France captain Didier Deschamps had been among the candidates to replace Domenech, who now faces a first 2010 World Cup qualifying match at home against Serbia on Sept 10. Domenech was reproached for the brittle way in which he answered questions, for alienating French players from the fans by having too many closed-door training sessions and for proposing marriage to his girlfriend, Estelle Denis, live on television just moments after the French were eliminated. "He only has one mission now, to concentrate on what happens on the field," urged Mr Escalettes. "Now the communication has to be focused on the French team, not personal viewpoints. ... In my opinion this communication was sometimes disastrous, aggressive and lacking clarity. He has a few years of experience behind him, and it's up to him to show he can bounce back from this failure."