Republic of Ireland suffered what can only be described as a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the French. They put in a superb performance in Paris, only to be cheated by a previously respected footballer.
As far as I was concerned I didn’t think France looked like scoring on the night and it took some superb handling skills from Thierry Henry to get France out of the mire.
I think Thierry has been taking handling lessons from his good friend and NBA star Tony Parker. To get away with handle it once was hard but to do it a second time was something else.
Now I know that the referee didn’t have the same views that us television viewers had but surely one of the other officials must of saw the skillful handling. This incident in such a big game will bring back the argument about more officials and video technology. If the referee was allowed to see the replays we saw then there would be no doubt that the goal would have been disallowed.
I always thought of Thierry Henry as a good guy, who is very professional. My view of him has completely transformed in those two touches of the ball. He has admitted that he handled the ball but said it wasn’tÂ deliberately. How can he handle it twice and it not be deliberate? Its strange what a place in the World Cup finals can do to a person.
Its a shame that this incident took attention away from Ireland’s superb performance. I have to admit they surprised me with such a good showing. Infact the game probably shouldn’t of even got to extra time because Ireland had enough chances and enough of the play to win the game in normal time.
The French side were really poor last night and that really surprised me. Their performances in qualification wasn’t exactly convincing but I thought that they were still a good side. However they played just like I thought they would, a team of individuals instead of a team. The complete opposite of their opponents last night.
I think a part of the problem is their coach Raymond Domenech. Now regular readers of my articles will know my feelings toward the inept Domenech. He just isn’t good enough to coach players with the egos the size of the French. This victory was a get out of jail free card for the former Lyon boss.
If France would have lost there’s no doubt he would of been out of a job today. Its almost like he is hated in France but I see were his critics are coming from. His squad which contains Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery and Patrice Evra failed to clinch automatic qualification.
I don’t see how that is possible. Any world-class boss would have had the French qualified with two games left. You only need to look at England for an example of a world class coach Fabio Capello coming in and inspiring an under-achieving team. Fortunately for Domenech and his bank account their qualification for the World Cup has probably kept him in a job till next summer.
The incident involving Thierry Henry has raised the question of whether the game can be replayed. Lots of the Irish players have talked of a replay but I’d be very surprised if FIFA will grant their wish. The Irish FA have got in touch with their French counterparts about a replay but I doubt they’ll be grant their wish either.
Even if the French Football Federation agree to a replay they will then have to deal with stubborn FIFA, who quite frankly make some baffling decisions. They fixed the play-offs so that the bigger nations would get to next years World Cup by seeding the draw and they have their wish with the likes of France and Portugal qualifying through the play-offs. They wouldn’t take the risk of losing France in a replay, so I think Ireland will miss out.
Its a shame that Ireland suffered a defeat in such a bad fashion. Its easier to take defeat when your defeated by a better team on the night or a flash of brilliance, but to lose in such circumstances is truly devastating. I’m afraid it says a lot about the French national side that they got so desperate they had to cheat. Come next June in South Africa I don’t think the officials will be so forgiving.