Dunne criticizes France coach ahead of WCup match
Ireland defender Richard Dunne accused Raymond Domenech of messing up a talented France team and said Wednesday he believes the coach could be the weak link when the two teams meet in the World Cup playoffs. Dunne said he did not think Domenech was good enough to turn things around if Ireland won Saturday's first leg in Dublin. They meet again in at Stade de France next Wednesday. "Every time a tournament comes round, (France) have all these world-class players and then a man who seems intent on messing them up," Dunne said in Wednesday's edition of the Guardian newspaper. "Over the last World Cups and European Championships, things have not run smoothly for France. They've always got through but maybe it's time that we put a stop to that." The Ireland-France match is one of four playoffs of teams who finished second in their qualifying groups. The other games are Russia vs. Slovenia, Portugal vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece vs. Ukraine. Ireland failed to qualify for the last World Cup in 2006 and for the last two European Championships in 2004 and '08. France, which won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, was the runner-up at the 2006 World Cup. But Dunne believes the French can be beaten, especially if Ireland wins the home leg. "We know that if we can get in front, they probably have not got the man at the top to pull them back around," Dunne said. "(Domenech's management) could be a weakness or it could be a big smoke screen. France have played really well in their last few games. But if we can get on top of them and try to turn the game into a battle, we feel we have the stronger personalities." Ireland has lost midfielder Liam Miller for the game because of a calf muscle injury.