That’s pretty much the sentiment rippling through French fans today as Les Bleus slide into next summer’s European Championships.
Christian Panucci’s last gasp, injury time, controversial goal in Glasgow last night ensured the Scots would not go to a major tournament for the first time since France 98. In doing so Italy made sure of qualifying and also booked France their ticket. Had Scotland held on for a draw, France would have had to go to Kiev looking for at least a point, a worrying prospect to say the least. As it stands that game on Wednesday turns into another experiment for Raymond Domenech. Unfortunately, with Italy winning, their is no chance for France to claim the top spot (assuming the Faroe Islands somehow hold Italy to a draw and France win), so they are pipped by the Italians yet again…
You have to feel for the Scots– they humbled us twice in the last year– and just shake your head at the Italians who very much lucked out at Hampden Park. They avoided the embarassment of being World Cup winners but failing to make the following Euros, something they couldn’t avoid in 1984. Somehow a free kick was awarded in the dying minutes of the match and Panucci made sure the Azzuri didn’t have to suffer that same fate. Prior to that the Scots had been piling on the pressure and surely putting doubts in the Italians minds.
So for once, well it feels like for once, France get a free pass, an easy ride. The Ukraine game was always going to be tough. In a way, I would have liked to see us rise to the occasion and power our way into the Euros. That being said, grazie Italia and I look forward to seeing you next summer.