Twenty-years after leaving his coaching position in Lyon, Raymond Domenech, 68, will therefore return to Ligue 1. In Nantes. A look back at a career unlike any other punctuated by a World Cup final lost in 2006 and a players’ strike four years later.
The rise in D1 with Olympique Lyonnais
After starting in 1984 as a trainer in Mulhouse (D2), where he missed three times the rise in D1 during the access roadblocks, Raymond Domenech landed in 1988 in Lyon where its president, Jean-Michel Aulas, arrived the year previous, targets the elite in the very short term. With a young and ambitious squad (Garde, Genesio, Fugier, etc.), he succeeded at the end of the 88-89 season. It also allows OL to return to Europe at the end of the 1990-91 season. In conflict with Bernard Lacombe, the right arm of Aulas, he nevertheless left the Rhône in 1993.
Eleven years with the Espoirs
Successor of Marc Bourrier, European champion U23 in 1988, Domenech will occupy the post of coach of U21s until June 2004. For eleven years, he will see in his team the future world champions 98 such Zidane, Thuram, Dugarry, Pirès, Henry, Vieira or even Trezeguet. Despite this, he would never manage to clinch a title, failing several times in the semi-finals. When it comes time to leave his post, his record comes down to two… Toulon tournaments!
Rebuild everything with the France team
Candidate to succeed Roger Lemerre after a failed World Cup in 2002 in South Korea, Raymond Domenech was not selected and had to wait until 2004 and the departure of Jacques Santini to Tottenham to be inducted by Claude Simonet, the president. of the French Football Federation (FFF). Benefiting from the support of Aimé Jacquet, winner of the World Cup 98, he wants to bring change within the France team which has just been eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Euro in Portugal. He arrives with his Hopes staff and imposes certain practices (such as collective self-criticism) that go badly among the former world champions who have not yet hung up, such as Barthez, Pirès, Vieira or Henry. His qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup remains laborious, he gets angry with Pirès and Giuly, and only the returns of Zidane, Thuram and Makelele in August 2005 allow the Blues to qualify.
A final at the 2006 World Cup
After a first round where France narrowly qualifies for the round of 16 thanks to a success over Togo (2-0), the rest of the competition testifies to a real start within the group where Zidane and Makelele are more than ever the leaders, to the detriment of… Domenech. Erudite and intelligent, the technician lets it go and the Blues go to the final after successively beating Spain, Brazil and Portugal. In the final, against Italy, the expulsion of Zidane for a header on Materazzi changed the match. At ten, France went to penalties but ultimately lost 5-4. Domenech will never become the equal of Aime Jacquet, canonized during his lifetime.
Despite a bitter failure at Euro 2008 in Switzerland (elimination in the first round), Raymond Domenech remains in his post. Its mission is to qualify France for the 2010 World Cup organized in South Africa. He succeeds thanks to a… hand of Thierry Henry during the return trip to the Stade de France against Eire (1-1) in November 2009. After sluggish preparatory matches (victory against Costa Rica, draw against Tunisia , defeat against China in Reunion), the adventure of the Blues in Africa turns into a fiasco. If they hang the draw (0-0) in Cape Town against Uruguay, they lose against Mexico (2-0). This defeat led to a media earthquake, highlighting the insults against the coach that would have uttered Nicolas Anelka in the locker room at half-time. Excluded from the group, Anelka indirectly triggers the Knysna strike, named after the city where the French team resides. In solidarity with their comrade, the players thus decide not to take part in the training just before the last crucial match against South Africa. A new defeat against the host country (2-1) seals the fate of the coach, who leaves office on July 31, 2010. His record: 41 wins, 24 draws, 14 defeats.
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