Pressure eases on Domenech before job verdict
France coach Raymond Domenech, who looked in great danger of being sacked just a few days ago, is set to retain his job when the French Football Federation decide his future tomorrow.
Domenech, who was left in charge but told he needed results after his side's shock group-stage exit from Euro 2008, will find out after a FFF meeting whether he is allowed to stay on.
His team's fightback from two goals down for a 2-2 draw in Romania in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday has made his position a lot more comfortable, and not only because the result left France in the race for the 2010 finals.
The abrasive Domenech, who had been criticised by FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes for communicating poorly, kept a low profile this time and found the right words to motivate his troops at half-time.
More importantly, the 2006 World Cup finalists played as a team with some clever moves sparked by exciting new playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and inspirational forward Franck Ribery, back after a long injury break.
The best way for Domenech to prepare for tomorrow's meeting would be a convincing performance from his men in a friendly against Tunisia at the Stade de France today.
Domenech, who has had a difficult relationship with some of his players and the media for years, has received the backing of leading members of the side, starting with Ribery and forward Thierry Henry, the captain on Saturday.
Henry urged the FFF to give Domenech unconditional support to end the uncertainty and speculation that has surrounded him for months.
"We must end this debate," Henry told reporters after the Romania game.
"If the coach is confirmed, then he is confirmed. You can't confirm someone with conditions. If things were clear, it would be easier."
French media, who have criticised Domenech relentlessly since the Euro 2008 fiasco, are now predicting the controversial 56-year-old will escape the axe.
"It's looking good for Domenech," read the front-page headline of sports daily L'Equipe yesterday.
France, in fourth position in Group Seven, two points behind leaders Serbia and Lithuania after three games, still face a struggle to qualify and need to solve the defensive problems that led them to concede six goals from their last three outings.
Domenech, however, is now in a resolutely confident mood.
"It's a certainty, we'll go all the way (to the 2010 finals)," he told reporters after the Romania match.