DUBLIN - Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne has added to the pressure on France coach Raymond Domenech ahead of Saturday's World Cup playoff by claiming the under-fire boss is messing up his team.
Domenech has become increasingly unpopular in recent months as France failed to claim an automatic qualification place for next year's World Cup finals.
They finished behind Serbia and now have to face a daunting two-leg playoff against Ireland, who went through their own qualifying campaign without defeat, with the first leg in Dublin on Saturday and the return in France next week.
Dunne believes a team with players like Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Nicolas Anelka and Patrice Evra should easily qualify for major tournaments and insists Domenech is at fault. "Every time a tournament comes round, France have all these world-class players and then a man who seems intent on messing them up," Dunne said in the Guardian.
"Over the last World Cups and European Championships, things have not run smoothly for France; they've always got through but maybe it's time that we put a stop to that. And we know that if we can get in front, they probably have not got the man at the top to pull them back around."
Domenech's often odd behaviour, not least when he proposed to his girlfriend on national television after a France defeat, has hardly helped his case with the French fans.
That was borne out this week when he took his players to the Paris Masters tennis tournament and was booed by the crowd.
"You can see the reaction of the people at the tennis, when they put his face on the big screen," Dunne said.
"The whole place just booed him and his own players laughed at him. - Sapa-AFP