Florent Malouda fears the France players may always have to live with the shame of a chaotic FIFA World Cup™ campaign.

The former world champions are due to return to Paris after exiting the tournament at the first round stage following a 2-1 defeat by South Africa. France finished bottom of Group A with only one point after turmoil in the camp.

The players boycotted a training session on Sunday in protest at striker Nicolas Anelka being expelled from the squad following a row with Raymond Domenech. The coach, who is being replaced by Laurent Blanc, responded by stripping Manchester United full back Patrice Evra of the captaincy at the Free State Stadium.

While Evra intends to go public on what happened in the camp, Chelsea striker Malouda admitted: "We lost our chance to qualify long ago. It has been difficult within the squad. We are not proud of what we have done. I do not know what we will have to do to earn forgiveness."

Malouda indicated there were divisions in the group. "Given what happened before the match it would have been a miracle if we had won," he said. "We did not have the right attitude to get beyond the group stage. I would like to apologise on behalf of all the players. We'll be discussing things among ourselves. There's a lot of tension in the squad, which is not ideal for preparing an important game."

Such has been the discontent in the nation at the team's failings French president Nicolas Sarkozy has become involved. He will hold a government meeting tomorrow to discuss the events that unfolded in South Africa. Sarkozy will also meet Thierry Henry, at the striker's request tomorrow, according to Europe 1 radio.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon and sports minister Roselyne Bachelot will join Sarkozy. Bachelot said: "Those responsible for this disaster must accept the consequences, first the players, then the team management and after them the football federation."

French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes will also host a meeting next month to investigate the campaign, horrified at the way they imploded. He said: "Everyone will go before the federal council, the president, the players, the coach, the medical staff, to see who is responsible.

"There will probably be sanctions but I can't pre-empt what the council will decide. What upsets me the most is the drama of last weekend. For me 50 years of values crumbled. I thought at the time of this shame that football brought to France - that's far worse than poor results."