All is not well on the World Cup front for two European soccer teams whose fans have been deeply disappointed by their performances in South Africa. France's team, which came in second at the 2006 event and won it all in 1998, went into open revolt Sunday. The team refused to practice in protest against the expulsion of a teammate from the squad. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked his minister of sports to step in and mediate.
Facing a crucial final game on Wednesday, the French team refused to leave the team bus for training after Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home to France. Anelka was dropped from the team after a fiery halftime altercation with beleaguered coach Raymond Domenech in a 2-0 loss to Mexico. The French media reported that Anelka called Domenech "a dirty son of a whore" during an argument about tactics. Team captain Patrice Evra said the team was also upset that a locker room argument was leaked to the media by a "traitor." The team's national director quit and said he was returning to France. Domenech said he offered Anelka a chance to apologize, but that the player refused.
More on the French story here.
English coach Fabio Capello seemed to have nipped a player revolt in the bud when former captain John Terry tried to engage the coach in a discussion about tactics. Several players had gotten together and agreed that Chelsea player Joe Cole, who has not been used in the tournament so far, should play a more prominent role.
The authoritarian Capello apparently cut them off at a meeting and refused to hear their complaints. It also appeared that the entire English team was not behind Terry's sentiment. You can read more about England's troubles here.
Of course, all this turmoil could disappear if both teams manage to win their last games this week and make it to the next round of the World Cup.