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Striker blasts Lizarazu as he refutes rumours...

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has hit out at suggestions in France that some of Raymond Domenech's squad were coerced into going 'on strike' at the World Cup finals.

The forward has also blasted World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu for his comments in the wake of the shambolic performance by the French in South Africa.

Anelka was sent home from the tournament after an argument with Domenech. The French camp then imploded into a mess of dissension, with the players refusing to train as a gesture of protest at Anelka's treatment.

There had been claims that some of the squad were unhappy at being forced into a situation of open revolt, but Anelka insists that this was not the case.

"Everyone, and I mean everyone, was united," the 31-year-old told France Soir newspaper.

"In the case of mutiny, everything and its opposite was said. If there were players who wanted to train, they should speak now. But I am 100 per cent certain that nobody will.

"If it was not from me that everything was precipitated, this would have happened with someone else. It had to explode."

Anelka's international team-mate Jeremy Toulalan has admitted that he feels that the squad should take responsibility for the issue and should expect to be punished.

"I'm not proud of what I did but I accept responsibility," he told Journal du Dimanche.

"There were no ringleaders and no slaves, no good guys and no bad guys. We were all involved and we are all responsible because nobody said a word (against the boycott). Whoever says otherwise is a liar."

Anelka insists that he can respect that viewpoint.

"It takes a form of courage and a strong mentality from Jeremy to take it," the striker said of the Lyon midfielder.

"I am proud to have played with him and the team of France. Jeremy is a players' player."

But Anelka had less sympathy for the views expressed recently by Lizarazu, who has claimed that Anelka was "strolling" at the World Cup and was a "selfish" player.

"Lizarazu - who is he?" Anelka sneered.

"When he speaks and we listen, we seem to hear a living legend. He's just a former player in lack of recognition, frustrated by the success of his mates Zidane and Dugarry."

Referring to another ignominious French World Cup experience - in 2002 when France went to Korea/Japan as defending world and reigning European champions but exited at the group stage with only one point and no goals after their three matches - Anelka continued: "Has he forgotten that he was at the 2002 World Cup?

"I was not included in the squad but I refrained from comment. He should stop talking about respect."

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