World Cup: Lloris parries question as France move on from Knysna shame
- POSTED: 20 Jun 2014 08:52
- UPDATED: 20 Jun 2014 08:55
France captain Hugo Lloris forcefully parried away any discussion about French football's infamous strike on the eve of the anniversary of the Knysna bus revolt as his team prepared to take on Switzerland in the World Cup on Friday.
SALVADOR, Brazil: France captain Hugo Lloris forcefully parried away any discussion about French football's infamous strike on the eve of the anniversary of the Knysna bus revolt as his team prepared to take on Switzerland in the World Cup on Friday.
It was on June 20, 2010, at the last finals in South Africa, that the squad infamously refused to get off their bus and train in a strike action that was universally condemned and is now considered among the most shameful moments in French sporting history
But any hopes journalists had of some thoughtful quotes, painful recollections or even a mea culpa were swiftly dashed as Lloris smartly moved the subject along at Thursday's press conference in the Fonte Nova arena, where the French and Swiss will play on Friday.
"We are not worried about what happened in 2010," said the goalkeeper, "we're only concentrating on the match and all we've had in our head this week is this game ahead of us."
Coach Didier Deschampos, sitting next to his captain, shook his head at the questioner in a sign of visible irritation. He has battled in vain himself in recent weeks to move on from a dark stain on the team.
Lloris, who survives from the 2010 squad, preferred to talk about the dramatic 3-0 win over Ukraine in the World Cup qualification play-offs which booked the team a place in Brazil.
He suggested that win could be seen as a birth of the current side.
"It was a unique experience that gave us great courage and motivation but to maintain the momentum you need to keep winning.
"There was the birth of a strong state of mind, but we must remain vigilant. For now, it's going well, but the balance is still fragile," he said.
Since beating Ukraine, the French have won five of six games and scored 21 goals in the process.
The Knysna incident, named after the picturesque South African holiday town where the French were based in 2010, saw the players refused to train in retaliation for the sending home of striker Nicolas Anelka for a foul-mouthed outburst at then coach Raymond Domenech.
The players refused to get off their bus and delivered an ultimatum to Domenech to read a letter with their demands on it to the assembled media, to which he humiliatingly complied.
Four players were subsequently banned for their role in the strike action. One of them, Patrice Evra has since returned to the team.