The French are suddenly having a very turbulent 2012 European Championship, as cracks papered over by manager Laurent Blanc, both in the build-up to the tournament and since the disastrous days of Raymond Domenech, are now starting to make themselves felt again.
The players seem to have exploded in anger at each other after a shockingly poor performance during a 0-2 defeat to Sweden in the final group game of the championships. Tensions within the squad increased after it was later revealed several players within the squad had "heated" arguments with the other.
The truth, insofar as the French players' performances against Sweden was concerned, is that had it not been for the fine form of goal keeper Hugo Lloris, the loss could have been of embarrassing proportions. Fortunately for the French, it also transpired that the defeat did not stop them progressing to the quarterfinals of the tournament, although it did mean they conceded top spot in the group to England.
The coach and senior players, like Chelsea winger Florent Malouda, were understandably furious at it all but played down talk of a crisis.
"Yes, it got a bit heated, but then everyone had a cold shower. It shows that there was a bit of electricity. I hope there will be against Spain, because we'll need it," The Guardian quoted Blanc as saying.
Meanwhile, Malouda, one of France's most capped players and one who had chosen not to speak to media after the defeat to Sweden because he was furious, admitted he came close to losing his cool on several occasions.
"What I saw (against Sweden) awoke some demons in me and I didn't want to express myself. Because in the heat of the moment there was the risk of launching rockets and missiles. There are some things to sort out and sometimes you can really hurt someone with a comment that you make," said Malouda, according to a Goal.com report.
What was contained and restrained on the field, however, was released in the dressing room, as players exploded in anger after the defeat. It seems several of the French stars went at each other's throats within the privacy of their dressing room.
"Sometimes you need to aim a few bursts of gunfire at each other. We said quite a few things to each other afterward in the dressing room," added Malouda, in the Guardian report.
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who is all set to replace the suspended Philippe Mexes for Les Bleus' quarterfinal clash against Spain, confirmed there was a serious argument among his team mates.
"We were below par on every level. When we got back to the dressing room we knew we hadn't performed as we should have done and some things were said ... things that will stay between us," he said, according to the Guardian.
Chelsea player Malouda added that he was concerned the defending champions would ruthlessly dispose of his side in the quarterfinal clash, unless there was immediate and drastic improvement. He also admitted to being scared of a re-run of the 2010 World Cup.
"It's at times like these that you really need a discussion between the players. Because if we don't sort things out before Saturday, with the opponent we have coming up, the bill could be expensive. Knowing the position we were in two years ago and the work that we've done to come back ... the fact we gave up everything and played like a team that was just turning up to have fun was shocking," the veteran winger explained.
Meanwhile, in a report by the Telegraph, Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye also weighed in, questioning his team's attitude.
We have always played as a team which is why we went 23 games unbeaten, but we didn't against Sweden. It was a mistake. Our mentality wasn't right. I hope we learn. We do the right things from now on and we play like a team. I don't know why we were so bad. Spain are the best team in the world so we are going to have to play like it is the final. If we play like we did against Sweden we haven't got any chance of beating them," the player stressed.