Paddy Power

Paddy Power

April 29, 2010 03:30 ET

France Drifting In World Cup Betting

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 29, 2010) - After the nature of the win which secured qualification for this summer's World Cup, a low key build up to the 2010 tournament would have been ideal for Raymond Domenech and for France. However, Thierry Henry's handball has just been the start of a series of controversies which are dogging Les Bleus preparation for South Africa.

The most serious issue facing the France squad ahead of the World Cup concerns leading midfielder Franck Ribery who, alongside other international teammates, is embroiled in a damaging scandal. It has been reported by some sources that the married Bayern Munich winger paid a seventeen year old for sex, something that is illegal in France. If charged and found guilty the Muslim convert faces a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of up to £40,000.

Paddy Power, the leading Irish bookmaker who offer a range of World Cup odds, said, "This scandal could not have come at a worse time for French football. Considering the allegations concern three key members of the World Cup squad – Ribery, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou – it has cast a cloud over the country's preparations for this summer's showpiece event."

As well as the prospect of losing three key players, coach Raymond Domenech has also been on the receiving end of some stinging criticism from the French UEFA president, Michel Platini. Referring to the coach's behaviour, Platini claimed there was a 'Raymond problem' before dismissing France's chances of winning the 2010 World Cup. "I don't see them winning but I see them passing the first round," he said. "France are not among the world's three best teams."

Paddy Power added, "France have drifted to 14/1 in our outright World Cup Betting market, but some punters still believe that they can reach the latter stages in South Africa. With talent including Patrice Evra, Lassana Diarra, William Gallas and the supremely talented Yoann Gourcuff, it's still just 7/1 that Les Bleus emulate their 2006 performance and reach the World Cup Final."

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