Pires expected World Cup cold shoulder

May 28, 2006

PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) - Robert Pires says he has put France football behind him after being omitted by coach Raymond Domenech for the World Cup finals.

The 32-year-old Pires, who left Arsenal to join Villarreal on a two-year deal last week, said he was not surprised to miss his second consecutive World Cup.

In 2002, the midfielder was ruled out of the competition through injury.

'I was expecting (not be picked). I had no news from the coach,' Pires told sports daily L'Equipe on Sunday.

'In December, he asked me to be consistent. I think I have been. Today, Les Bleus are behind me though I'll watch the World Cup games,' he added.

The former Metz and Olympique Marseille player had not been called up by Domenech since a World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in October 2004.

Pires won 79 caps for France, scoring 14 goals.