How Senegal’s ‘crazy bunch’ stunned France in World Cup upset for the ages

In an extract from a new book Philippe Auclair revisits the day Roger Lemerre’s all-conquering side fell to earth in 2002 Hubris had swept through the French delegation, from the bag-carriers to the panjandrums, and including, it must be said, some of the players. No team had won three global tournaments on the trot, not even Pelé’s Brazil or Beckenbauer’s West Germany. France would.France were the holders. France, so long in search of a centre-forward, could call upon the top goalscorers in the English, French and Italian leagues: Thierry Henry, Djibril Cissé and David Trézéguet. France were the favourites and had shown – in Euro 2000 – they could live with that tag, even thrive on it, as demonstrated by Trezeguet’s golden goal in the final, when they had been outplayed by Italy for large parts.

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