|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
France coach Raymond Domenech said he felt "a great sadness" after his side crashed out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to hosts South Africa.
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Domenech, who will now leave the post to be replaced by Laurent Blanc, has seen the campaign marred by infighting and constant media pressure over his handling of the squad.
Choosing to drop captain Patrice Evra ahead of their final group game was the latest to raise eyebrows and Domenech claimed he was sorry for what happened at the tournament.
"I feel great sadness at what has happened not only for myself but for the French people," he said. ''I shook hands with the players because we have been through some difficult times together. We need to be dignified in victory and defeat. Our goal showed we had taken a step forward.
''I have had a splendid adventure for the last six years, good times and bad times. It is impossible to summarise at the moment what has happened. I cannot analyse things yet. I am not concerned about myself only the French team and its future.''
Domenech, who appeared to get involved in a verbal altercation with opposite number Carlos Alberto Parreira, added: ''Good luck to my successor and the French team. I wish them all the best. I will be their No.1 fan.''
Meanwhile, Parreira said he was baffled at Domenech's refusal to shake his hand at the end of the game.
''I was very polite at the end of the game but he claimed I had offended him. I cannot for the life of me understand why,'' he said. ''One of his assistants said I had commented on Thierry Henry's handball and that France should not be in the finals. But I do not recall making these remarks.''
The coach also claimed that his South Africa side had made the country proud by picking up a win in their final game.
"I am proud of the boys," said Parreira. "They made this country proud. They proved their good progression. We could have scored more goals but this is not failure, only disappointment. I have to thanks the players for their work and commitment in the last seven months. What they have done is unbelievable.''
Opening goalscorer Bongani Khumalo revealed that he held belief that South Africa could pip Mexico to the runners-up spot in Group A.
The defender said: "We really knew what we had to do today and obviously getting an early goal helped us a lot. It was important that we carried the momentum on. I really thought we could pull through."