25 Jun 2010

French team arrives home

5:43 am on 25 June 2010

France's football team has returned to Paris under heavy police protection after their humiliating first-round exit from the World Cup.

The plane chartered by the French Federation landed in Paris, after a 15-hour flight from South Africa.

A smattering of supporters were kept at a distance and dozens of photographers, cameramen and journalists were penned behind a wire fence.

Some of the players went straight into two coaches with darkened windows which left the airport through a back entrance.

Team captain Thierry Henry is expected later at the Elysee Palace for a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Les Bleus' World Cup campaign, marred by infighting and the boycott of a training session, ended on Wednesday with a 2-1 defeat by hosts South Africa that left them bottom of Group A without a win.

Their failure has turned into an affair of state.