Cover

French sports newspaper L'Equiperegrets the passing of the euphoria of 1998, and the sour relations that currently prevail between supporters and the players on the national team. On the eve of France's crucial World Cup qualifier against Romania, a report on the front page of the daily wonders if the members of the current squad are simply "insupportable" — a pun, which suggests that they are both "unbearable" and "unsupportable". Noting that relations between "les Bleus" and the public are often characterized by extravagant swings, the report takes the view that controversial coach Raymond Domenech cannot be held responsible for the unpopularity of "players who sneak out of stadiums wearing headphones and dark glasses — without so much as a word or a even a gesture of recognition for supporters." The French Football Federation "has launched several communications campaigns, but the team remains unpopular. Elsewhere, a recent poll to determine France's favorite personalities found that the country's best loved footballer retired from the game 3 years ago. Zinédine Zidane is still France's number one soccer star — proof that the French public loves, above all, those who win."