Axe Set to Fall on Lemerre after France's Failure

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Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

Axe set to fall on Lemerre after France's failure Roger will be 15th World Cup coach to lose his job since finals By Steve Stammers FRANCE manager Roger Lemerre will pay the ultimate price for his nation'sWorld Cup failure in Lyon tomorrow when he will be relieved of his duties - even though his successor has not yet been chosen.

At a meeting tonight with Claude Simonet, the president of the French Football Federation, he will be given two choices: either resign or be sacked.

That decision will be rubberstamped tomorrow at a meeting of the FFF at the Hilton Hotel by the banks of the Rhone. Lemerre's departure will mean that 15 of the 32 managers who started the World Cup have left their jobs; a 16th, Brazil's Luiz Felipe Scolari, is out of contract and considering his options.

Lemerre's side were the pre-tournament favourites and contained the leading scorers in the English, French and Italian leagues - Thierry Henry, Djibril Cisse and David Trezeguet. But France failed to score a single goal in three games and Lemerre was heavily criticised for his tactical inflexibility: the midfield was often swamped, the defence continuously exposed by a lone striker and Henry's pace and power squandered in a wide position on the left.

France also suffered from player unrest. It is said that Henry was told the night before the second game against Uruguay in Busan that he would be reinstalled up front to partner Trezeguet. However, his joy at the switch was shortlived and when Lemerre announced his team and strategy the following morning the Arsenal striker was distraught to find that he was again expected to play out wide.

Henry's mood was evident and his frustration was clear when he was sent off for a reckless lunge in the first half. He has refused to speak publicly about his experiences since.

There are three main candidates to succeed Lemerre with a decision likely to be announced at the end of the month. …