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Laurent Blanc has stamped his foot down in one of his first acts as France coach, by suspending all 23 players from their World Cup Squad for their next game, a friendly against Norway in Oslo on 11 August.

In a canny piece of political manoeuvring, Blanc asked the French Football Federation to suspend the squad, who caused chaos in South Africa by rowing with their manager, boycotting training and generally acting like a bunch of big babies while not winning any games. Blanc can now look like he’s playing the hard case, while the players shrug their shoulders, safe in the knowledge that a friendly against Norway matters none, and that they’ll be back for the next one. Nice work.

‘I obviously cannot act as if nothing had happened in South Africa,' said Blanc. 'I followed the events with sadness, I was disappointed with the sporting results and I was shocked by certain behaviours.

‘I will integrate these elements into my analysis and my thoughts. I always had the principles, rules of conduct and not just in my sporting life. They have not changed and I will not change.’

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