We're getting close. The bust-ups have just begun. And the predictions, too.
First, a couple of Frenchmen engaging in handbags at 20 paces. At the France
oldtimers reunion pre-tournament family hot dog roast in Tignes, the sparks are flying, goalkeeper Gregory Coupet still incensed that he's not the No. 1 guy but erratic Fabien Barthez is, and Coupet getting into the face of the coach about it:
|Coupet, Barthez: A couple of old slappers.|
Coupet was so incensed that Barthez failed to complete a mountain hike with the rest of the squad on Wednesday that he argued with coach Raymond Domenech before driving away with his family.
He returned later and trained with the rest of the squad at their base in the French Alps. Spectators chanted Coupet's name in support of the Lyon 'keeper who is acknowledged to be the best stopper in Ligue 1 by some distance.
And here's more detail, from Sporting Life:
In the morning the players were ascending the Grand Motte glacier, when Barthez decided to give up due to a pain in his left calf.
The veteran Marseille keeper then failed to show up for lunch with his team-mates, and that was the final straw for Coupet, who vented his frustration at the French coach, before hastily leaving the table.
I know, I know. It's not exactly Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy. But these are early days, friends.
Meantime, here we go with a group a day predictions, starting off with Group A, and feel free to shoot me down below:
1 Germany ... They have Michael Ballack. That's enough, at least here.
2 Poland ... White and Red, Dangerous and Brave!
4 Costa Rica ... Losing to Catalonia is not a good sign.
UPDATE: England's Wayne Rooney is still a month away from a possible return, ruling him out of the group stage:
The exact position will be ascertained today when Rooney undergoes a hospital scan on his broken metatarsal. There is no doubt the striker has made encouraging progress, but he has been informed in the last 24 hours that there is only a slender chance, at best, of him appearing for England before June 24.