France are appearing at the 2014 World Cup at the expense of Ukraine, whom they dismissed in a dramatic two-legged playoff back in November. After an apathetic first-leg match in which Les Bleus metaphorically laid down on the field and let Ukraine win 2-0, they somehow scored three in the return leg to devastate the Euro 2012 co-hosts.
According to former France manager Raymond Domenech, his nation's triumph was so shocking that it actually helped to cause the Ukrainian crisis that still engulfs the country today.
The Guardian reports:
“The Ukrainians thought they had qualified,” explained the 62-year old said in an interview with French GQ magazine. “If they had eliminated us, they would have something to cling on to by saying: ‘We’re going to the World Cup, let’s talk about something else and take on the Russians on the pitch.’ Involuntarily, we are perhaps partially responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.”
“When I see what state we put Ukraine in, it depresses me. If only Ukraine had won.”
Granted, the beautiful game can be greatly responsible for the mood of a nation, but to suggest that France's victory could have sparked a Ukranian Revolution and the conflict over Crimea seems slightly ludicrous and arrogant.
Domenech is a man who picked his teams using astrology, who proposed to his girlfriend on live TV right after his French team had been humuliated at Euro 2008 (she said no), and who called his own players "imbeciles" after their embarrassing 2010 World Cup exit. So he has form for being a bit insane.
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