These are troubling times for the French, and with just six months to the World Cup in New Zealand, it seems as if Marc Lièvremont’s 40-month tenure as coach could be coming to an end.
Saturday’s loss in Rome brought Lièvremont’s infamy to new depths, with some newspapers comparing him unfavourably with former France football boss Raymond Domenech.
While the beleaguered coach appeared afterwards to distance himself from the performance of his side, the French media wasted no time in blaming him for the outcome, making it increasingly unlikely that he will retain the job.
“12 March 2011. French rugby will remember that date for a long time to come,” reported La Figaro.
“It was a black Saturday for France, beaten miserably by a brave Italian side. It was a reverse that is going to do a lot of damage and will have repercussions not only for the future of Les Blues but Marc Lièvremont too.
La Journal du Dimanche echoed the theme, casting doubts as to whether Lièvremont can continue to lead France to the World Cup.
“The losers of the day were Tricolores, crushed by their demons which, believe it or not, surpassed those against Australia in November. Marc Lièvremont has abandoned his group and now he’s in big trouble. We therefore have to ask one question: Is there one single supporter that still believes in this French team?”
However La Depeche du Midi told its readers that while “a day of shame had arrived,” it would simply be impossible for France to axe the coach with so little time remaining before the World Cup.