Nicolas Anelka says the tension between the France squad and their coach at the World Cup was like a 'timebomb waiting to explode'.

The Chelsea frontman was sent home from the tournament following his bust-up with boss Raymond Domenech, which provoked the rest of the 23-man party to strike in support of the forward.

The disruption saw Les Bleus lose their final group game against South Africa 2-1, a defeat which ended their World Cup campaign.

The French media have suggested that some members of the squad were pressurised to participate in the strike, but 31-year-old Anelkais adamant the players were united in their revolt.

Les Bleus midfielder Jeremy Toulalan admitted on Sunday that the strike was a unanimous decision and that the whole squad should be punished, and Anelka praised the Lyonplayer's stance on the issue.



Joachim Low has hosed down the controversy surrounding Philipp Lahm and Germany's captaincy ahead of their World Cup semi-final against Spain.

Lahm told the Bild newspaper he wants to retain the armband even when regular skipper Michael Ballack returns from injury after the tournament, causing an unnecessary distraction in the German camp less than 48 hours ahead of their crucial match in Durban.

Ballack left the camp shortly after the comments were made, creating the impression of a rift, but Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff has insisted Ballack always intended to visit the team during the quarter-finals and simply departed as scheduled.



Michael Essien believes Ghana are more than capable of beating Uruguay in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old has sent a good luck message to his national compatriots whilst continuing his rehabilitation on a knee injury.

The Chelsea star injured his knee at the African Cup of Nations early in 2010, and he failed to recover in time for the finals in South Africa.

Although disappointed to have missed out, he admits he is immensely proud of seeing his side become the only African nation to make it to the knock-out stages.