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France Laments World Cup Loss


France woke up to the grim reality of its defeat against Italy in the World Cup championship in Germany. For VOA, Lisa Bryant takes a look at the mood in Paris, where a disappointed French soccer team arrived from Berlin.

Sunday night at a Paris bar, fans watched Italian Fabio Grosso score the winning penalty shot. The Italians had just captured the 2006 World Cup, and there were a few cheers from Italian supporters. Still, for most at the bar, diehard fans of the losing French team, there was nothing to celebrate.

One burly man who gave only his first name, Louis, criticized the playing of the Italian team. "I feel like somebody stole me the world cup," he said.

Another fan still rooted on France's star player, Zinedine Zidane, who was dismissed from the game in overtime for intentionally head-butting an Italian player. "Long live Zidane," the young man said. "Thanks to Zidane, France went as far as it did. It is not the end of the world."

Zidane was voted the best player of the 2006 World Cup. That does not erase French bitterness that he was unable to play the entire match.

Team member William Gallas said it was hard to accept the French defeat.

"We were better than they were," Gallas told French radio. "It is too bad. We were very solid on the field, but the ball did not cooperate and we had one player sent out."

The French team's sparkling performance at the World Cup galvanized a disheartened nation these past few weeks. Even though Paris was drenched in sun Monday, the mood is grim.

The returning French soccer team had lunch with French President Jacques Chirac, but they canceled a march down the Champs Elysees. There is not much to celebrate.

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