France coach Raymond Domenech expressed his sadness as his tenure ended with his squabbling side making an early exit from the FIFA World Cup™. Goals from Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela gave South Africa a 2-1 victory in this Group A game at the Free State Stadium, although they too are out of the tournament.
After stripping Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra of the captaincy - the result of the squad boycotting a training session - Domenech saw his side reduced to 10 men in the 26th minute when Yoann Gourcuff was sent off. Although Florent Malouda stepped off the bench to pull a goal back in the second half, France are returning to Paris tomorrow.
Domenech, who embraced his players at the end, said: "The over-riding emotion is one of sadness. We would have liked the dream to have continued. I shook hands with the players because we have been through some difficult times together. We need to be dignified in victory and defeat. Our goal showed we had taken a step forward.
"I have had a splendid adventure for the last six years, good times and bad times. It is impossible to summarise at the moment what has happened. I cannot analyse things yet. I am not concerned about myself only the French team and its future."
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc is about to take over to try to revive France's fortunes and stop the team imploding. Domenech added: "Good luck to my successor and the French team. I wish them all the best. I will be their number one fan."