France striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home from the World Cup after he insulted coach Raymond Domenech during the team’s 2-0 loss to Mexico.
Anelka, who has started both of France’s games in South Africa, argued with Domenech at halftime, French sports newspaper L’Equipe reported. He later refused to say sorry when asked to by French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes.
“Words spoken by Nicolas Anelka to the national coach, Raymond Domenech, are completely unacceptable to the FFF, French football and the values they defend,” the federation said in statement. “With the refusal of the player to publicly apologize, it was decided in full agreement with the coach and members of the delegation to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad.”
France, the 1998 champion and runner-up four years ago, is in third place in Group A and its chances of advancing to the round of 16 are out of its hands following a 0-0 draw with Uruguay and the loss to Mexico.
If Mexico and Uruguay draw in their final group match on June 22, France will be eliminated.
France captain Patrice Evra said at a televised news conference that Anelka’s expulsion was “a hard blow” for the team to take.
“We put ourselves in a catastrophic situation with the loss, and now we have lost a player,” Evra said. “I know the guy, and he’s a sweet guy. He’s hurt by what’s happened. You forget that we are human. These things happen in dressing rooms. Insults are unacceptable but things get said in dressing rooms.”