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Friday, August 10, 2007

Domenech Comments Are a Waste of Time by Jim Riggio

Domenech Comments Are a Waste of Time

By Jim Riggio for World Football Commentaries.

Well, what do you know? Raymond Domenech is at it again. He’s making Marco Materazzi look like the silent one. Maybe Domenech is doing a Materazzi, trying to get someone to lose their cool like Zinedine Zidane did last year in Berlin.

Whatever the case is, Domenech had some pretty harsh anti-Italian comments in a recent interview with the French publication Le Parisien.

In the past there have been rigged games like the France v Italy Under-21 qualifier for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney,’’ Domenech was quoted as saying. "They had bought the ref and the cheating was incredible. If it happens once you have doubts, but there are hidden agreements in Italian football.”

Apparently, Domenech forgot that in 2000 Italy and France played for the European championship and France scored a goal to send the game into overtime with just seconds left, after four minutes of stoppage time were added. And many Italian supporters have questioned the need for four minutes of stoppage time when upon review of the second half of the game, there were no players taken off for injury and substitutions was the only time there was a break in play.

Domenech also forgot that Italy’s Euro 2000 team was comprised only of players that were born in Italy and only Italian ancestry. France apparently feels it has jurisdiction over any player from the third world, and has put together international all-star teams in competitions since 1998.

  • Domenech apparently doesn’t know that France was virtually unheard of in world soccer after it defeated Italy in the 1986 World Cup until it hosted the 1998 event.
  • Domenech fails to mention that the alleged cheaters were cheated out of the 2002 World Cup due to corruption by an Ecuadorian referee.
  • Domenech doesn’t acknowledge that the Caribbean island of Guadaloupe, the home land of many of France’s top players, wants to become independent, as it showed by participating in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, even though it is technically a region and not a recognized country by FIFA.
  • Domenech doesn’t acknowledge that one of France’s best up-and-coming talents, Rio Mavuba, was actually born at sea to a father from Zaire (now known as Congo, a Belgian colony) and a mother from Angola, a Portuguese colony. Mavuba considered playing internationally for his father’s country, but Mavuba ended up playing for the country that could offer him more money and incentives.
  • Domenech also doesn’t know or perhaps doesn’t want to know that a few world class soccer players with long family ties to France– namely Philippe Mexes, Ludovic Giuly and Sebastien Frey that were not selected to play in the World Cup, in favor of a few players that were not born in France (a.k.a. Jean-Alian Boumsong) who was born in Cameroon and chosen over Mexes.

I for one, prior to last year’s World Cup, actually published a preview suggesting that I did not want Marco Materazzi on Italy’s team specifically because of his attitude. I stick to that, and I do not defend Materazzi for what he did to Zidane. However, I do realize that taunting is unfortunately something that is part of sports. Zidane’s response to whatever Materazzi said was in my mind more brutal as he could have seriously injured the Inter Milan player and perhaps even be charged with a crime by law enforcement officials for intending to cause serious bodily harm.

Next time, before Domenech opens his mouth, he might want to look at his team and country’s own internal problems. I think they are far worse than those of Italy.


On September 8th, France, coached by Raymond Domenech, will visit Italy to play a key Euro 2008 qualifier at the San Siro in Milan.

About the Author

Mr. Riggio has written about Italian and international soccer for ESPN/Soccernet, and was an interviewee for my column at AC Cugini Scuola Calcio. Last summer, he contributed an interview with Gianluca Zambrotta for my World Football site.

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