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Saturday, June 19, 2010
Anelka sent home from finals

Soccernet staff

France striker Nicolas Anelka has been sent home from the World Cup, the French Football Federation have confirmed.

• Anelka launches half-time tirade
• Adams: Anelka's past misdemeanours
• Warshaw: Everybody hates Raymond

Anelka was reportedly embroiled in war of words with Raymond Domenech at half-time in the 2-0 defeat to Mexico, in which he was alleged to have told the much-maligned Les Bleus coach "go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore".

And after refusing to apologise to Domenech for the exchange, the Chelsea striker has been told he must leave South Africa before France's must-win final group game against South Africa.

Anelka was absent from training on Saturday after the bust-up, which saw him substituted at the interval. He was asked to apologise by French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes and, upon refusing to do so, was asked to leave the squad.

"He will leave the Team France camp this evening,'' said a statement onthe FFF's official website.

France captain Patrice Evra - who admitted "his [Anelka's] comments are unacceptable" - accused a mystery team-mate of leaking details of the outburst and said the perpetrator must be identified.

"The problem of France is not Anelka, but the traitor among us," Evra said. "We must eliminate the traitor from the group, because he wants to hurt the team. There is no little mouse in the locker room, this comes from someone who is on the team and wants to hurt the team.

"We are not going to lie, the reporter [from L'Equipe] did not make this up. I do not know anything [about this person], I am not a magician."

Anelka was also disappointed that his comments were leaked to the press, and insisted he has nothing but respect for his team-mates. However, he made no comment on Domenech.

"It happened within the confines of the changing rooms, between the coach and me, in front of my team-mates and the staff,'' Anelka told newspaper France Soir. "That should never have come out of the changing rooms.

"I don't know who can benefit from that, but repeating these kind of things certainly doesn't help (the team). My aim was never to destabilise the French team, an institution I respect. I accept my exclusion from the France team and I wish them good luck.

"I have a lot of respect for the France team, I equally have a lot of respect for all of my team-mates without exception, I insist on that point."

The incident invokes memories of the 2002 World Cup, when former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was sent home from the Ireland squad before the tournament in Japan and South Korea began, following a training ground spat with coach Mick McCarthy.

And at the 1996 European Championships, Netherlands star Edgar Davids was sent home by boss Guus Hiddink, after saying in a radio interview that "Hiddink must take his head out of players' asses, so he can see better".

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