France head coach Laurent Blanc leaves post after Euro 2012 exit



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Former Bordeaux boss Blanc (pictured) has already been signposted with a number of managerial roles including Premier League side Tottenham


Laurent Blanc has left his job as manager of the French national team at the end of his short contract expiry after Euro 2012 after an amicable agreement with the France Football Federation.  

The 46-year-old has been constantly linked with the vacant managerial role at Tottenham Hotspur and leaves just two years after he took over from Raymond Domenech in 2010 who resigned after the World Cup debacle in South Africa.

Like his predecessor, Blanc endured in fighting between players which he admitted had been a major distraction before their Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat against Spain. Marseille boss Didier Deschamps has emerged as the early favourite to replace Blanc as manager of the national side.

Despite France's disappointing performance at Euro 2012, former Manchester United defender Blanc had initially been expected to carry on in the role for another two years. 

However, following a long meeting with French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet earlier this week, both parties said they would take time to consider their positions. Blanc has since decided that the time is right for a new challenge, and an FFF statement read: "Within the period provided for reflection, Laurent Blanc contacted Noel Le Graet to indicate his decision not to seek the renewal of his contract of national coach. Mr Le Graet has acknowledged and applauded the work of Laurent Blanc at the head of the France team since August 2010."

Blanc had taken France to Euro 2012 on a high with a number of impressive performances and notable results although their 23-match unbeaten run was only ended by a 2-0 defeat to Sweden in the last group game of the competition.

But stories of infighting resurfaced once again, and finishing second to England in Group D meant they came up against world and European champions Spain in the quarter-finals. Les Bleus's campaign ended on the worst possible note after their 2-0 defeat to Vicente Del Bosque's side, with Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri involved in a row with a native journalist for which he later apologised for the spat.

The French side also suffered criticism from previous manager Domenech after their sharp exit from the tournament who said: "A major tournament reveals the strength of a group, a generation. The most glaring [weakness is] their inability to see anything other than their navel."

Blanc previously impressed as manager of Bordeaux guiding the Ligue One side to a league and cup double in 2009. As a player, he played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe including Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan. He earned 97 caps for his country and won the 1998 World Cup, although he missed the final having been sent-off in the semi, and experienced success two years later after victory over Italy in the European Championship final.

France's next fixture is a friendly against Copa America champions Uruguay on 15th August, before they begin their 2012 World Cup qualifying campaign against Finland on 7th September.


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