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23: Gregory Coupet

9 June 2008 by

Gregory Coupet played in his first game for France against Australia, in the Confederations Cup in 2001, in which France triumphed. Gregory was in the French squad for the 2002 World Cup, as backup to Number 1 goalkeeper Fabien Barthez. He did not play a single match in this competition, but he featured prominently in the Confederations Cup of the following year. Coupet impressed everyone with his performances, conceding just 3 goals in 5 matches, and recording 3 clean sheets.

 

Coupet was in the France 23-man squad for Euro 2004, the last European Championship, but once again, Barthez was the preferred option for Jacques Santini, and Coupet did not play a match. France were eliminated by the score on 1-0 in the knockout stage against eventual winners Greece. This trend of choosing Barthez ahead of Coupet (even though common sense says otherwise) was continued by Santini’s successor, current manager Raymond Domenech. Coupet had been playing wonderfully for Lyon and many expected him to wear the number 1 jersey. On May 25th 2006, Coupet had a dispute with Domenech and walked out of the training camp with his family. Later he returned and arranged the situation with his manager. After Barthez’s retirement, Coupet became the first keeper for his nation, and at the age of 35, still enjoys the French No 1.

 

His performances at the Euro 2008 qualifiers were not the best of the experienced keeper. However, he is set to maintain his position as first goalkeeper for Raymond Domenech’s side, after helping his club Lyon to clinch their seventh consecutive league title. 

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