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April 23, 2010

Platini admits to 'Raymond problem'

UEFA president Michel Platini has poured cold water on France's World Cup hopes, believing that the "Raymond problem" and a lack of great talent will see them flounder in South Africa.

Raymond Domenech
GettyImagesMichel Platini has significant doubts about Raymond Domenech's ability to guide France to glory

Platini, who played in three World Cups for France, gave his support to under-fire coach Raymond Domenech following a dismal Euro 2008 performance.

However, Platini has now lashed out at Domenech's character, citing as an example his infamous television proposal to his girlfriend immediately after France flunked out at the group stage, finishing bottom of their pool with just one point.

"There's a Raymond problem," he said in an interview with Groupe Hersant Media. "A problem of personality, not as a coach. He was hopeless. It was after the Euros with his proposal which hurt the whole of France. People were in pain, sad, and he, he comes with his words.

"He knew it, he's acknowledged it - he messed up and that's it. Before being himself, he is the coach of the France team. His duty is to the whole French footballing family."

France have failed to improve since then and struggled to qualify for South Africa, only booking their place following a controversial handball in their play-off against Republic of Ireland.

Platini, who has named England among his three favourites to lift the trophy, admits Les Bleus' chances this summer are slim.

And the 54-year-old has bemoaned the fact that this France team are lacking a talisman like Zinedine Zidane or himself.

"I don't see them winning, I see them passing the first round," he added. "After they will play either Argentina or Nigeria.

"The France team are not currently the best in the world, nor among the three best teams in the world, but they are part of those teams, like Argentina, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Holland, who will be difficult to beat.

"There are good individuals in the group, but let's be clear, there's no great individual. Simply put, I think France have lost a great generation For me, there are three teams who are at the to: Spain, England and Brazil. They have the best teams, the best players and it is them who play the best.

"After, we can imagine a second circle with Germany, Italy, Argentina."

France kick off their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on June 11 before playing Mexico and hosts South Africa.