KIEV- French federation president Noel Le Graet on Tuesday played down an incident involving midfielder Samir Nasri after France drew 1-1 with England in their Euro 2012 Group D opening game.
Nasri put a finger to his mouth and muttered “shut up” while looking towards the benches and the press stands in Donetsk after cancelling out Joleon Lescott’s opener.
“Let’s be clear. We need to judge him on sporting grounds,” Le Graet told French radio RTL on Tuesday.
“He was named man of the match by UEFA. He scored a goal and, often, players react after scoring a goal.
“Maybe he had a bad article in his mind. He is a winner. There was this gesture but it’s nothing serious.”
Nasri had been criticised by French media for his recent lack of impact on games when playing for Les Bleus.
After the match he muttered to the press: “That was at you”.
While not serious, the incident brought back memories from the 2010 World Cup, when France players went on strike in support of Nicolas Anelka, who had been kicked out of the squad for insulting then coach Raymond Domenech.
France coach Laurent Blanc did not dwell on the matter on Monday. “That’s between him and his detractors, nobody else,” said Blanc.