France return to training

  • Last Updated: June 21 2010, 12:50 BST

The France squad returned to training this morning, a day after refusing to take part in a routine session in protest at the decision to send home Nicolas Anelka.

France in training session.

Les Bleus' World Cup descended into farce on Sunday when, just hours after the French Football Federation ruled Anelka would be excluded from the squad for a foul-mouthed outburst against coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of the 2-0 defeat to Mexico, the remaining players refused to train.

That prompted a furious exchange between fitness coach Robert Duverne and captain Patrice Evra while team director Jean-Louis Valentin stormed off in tears before announcing his resignation.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has now got involved, asking his sports minister Roselyne Bachelot to meet with the key people involved.

She told TF1 television: "We are taking note of the indignation of the French people and...calling for dignity and responsibility.

"It's not yet the right time to take disciplinary action but that time will come very soon."

The players started some light running at 11am local time at the Field of Dreams training complex in Knysna before Duverne led a period of stretching.

The squad were then given some tactical advice during the remainder of the 25 minutes open to the press.

Time is at a premium for the French as they attempt to sort out their differences ahead of Tuesday's final Group A match against the tournament hosts.

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira expects Les Bleus to be united, though.

He said: "We know this crisis in France is long standing. There has been a lot of friction. But it will not affect what happens on the pitch.

"When the French team enter the pitch they will be seen by the whole world. I am sure they will do everything in their power to try to get a victory."

Bafana Bafana still have an outside chance of qualifying for the second phase at Bloemfontein's Free State Stadium.