France and its football fans would have hoped that last night a new era for the Equipe Tricolore would start under new coach Laurant Blanc. But the nightmare continues as France lost 0-1 against Belarus at the Stade de France and are now once more under pressure after only the first game in their 2012 European Championship qualifying group.
Substitute Sergej Kisljak scored the winner in the 86th minute for Belarus in a match which the French should have never lost as Belarus didn't really have any chances in the entire match. And to add to it, the goal was scored after Alexandr Hleb was in an offside position to add further misery for the French. But France played badly still they could and should have won the match with their few chances. And now Blanc will have to worry as France travel to face Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.
And the French Football Federation (FFF) will have to ask itself the question if the suspensions against their senior players Jeremy Toulalon (one match), Franck Ribery (three matches) and World Cup captain Patrice Evra (five matches) is now hurting rather its own team, then the player concerned. Then till date the FFF has not openly acknowledged that the real problem at the World Cup was coach Raymond Domenech and his handling of affairs. The players only reacted to events which took place in and around the French team over the last few years. Surely Nicolas Anelka's half time reaction cannot be pardoned, but Domenech had opened a pandora's box through his behaviour and treatment of players which is still haunting the French even after he has left.
And what can the FFF do now? Is it better to lose face and say, we take the players back in the interest of French football and let coach Laurant Blanc work with these so-called difficult characters or keep the suspensions in place and let French football suffer by not qualifying for the 2012 European Championships. If I had a choice then I would surely take option one and publicly say it was a mistake to suspend the players.
But will the French football administrators openly say that they were wrong. I have severe doubts...