Domenech's decision to drop winger
As soon as the game finished, Domenech was ripe for a bashing from the French media, who normally need little encouragement. "What is Domenech playing at?" ran one newspaper headline, and another: "Wandering in search of a goal."
Last month, Domenech had told a press conference, "If anyone steps out of line, I will get my gun out." His warning had not been heeded, and Malouda paid the price. While much of the debate in France focused on Domenech's team selection, Malouda has also come in for a lot of stick.
"The last thing you want is a player asking to play somewhere else. It should be about what's best for the team,"
"You have to put your ego to one side and work for the collective,"
Malouda does deserve some sympathy. He is the only France player who comes into the tournament having shown anything near decent form for his club side, and he endured a wretched Euro 2008 in which, once again, he was blamed for being too defensive. "People got angry with me," he told
"Maybe I don't defend myself well enough."
On this occasion he has made public his feelings respecting the coach's decision, but feeling his form warrants a place. However, at the moment the media sense less charm and more offensive to his PR campaign -- although he remains a popular figure in the squad.
The Malouda row has not let France's other underperforming players off the hook.
It's not only the media whose relations with the France squad are at a low point. When the players visited a township on Sunday, they refused to be accompanied by their sports minister,
Mexico is France's next opponent, on Thursday night, and Domenech has to decide what, if any, changes to make. As
If Domenech has any idea what his best team or his best system is, he does a very good job of hiding it. In an interview with one of his former players,
"What's that question supposed to mean?" Domenech said.
"How do you want your team to play? With a sweeper, playing counterattack, or with a number 10?"
"My style of play is to win games," Domenech said.
"That's not an answer," the frustrated Dhorasoo replied.
Now the French public understands exactly how Dhorasoo feels. The frustration is even affecting the players, and Domenech is running out of time to win games. His reign could be over in a week.