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French lucky to qualify for World Cup

HENRYRepublic 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.

Respected star

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’t  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.

Good performance

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.

Poor French

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.

Poor coach

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.

Thu 19 Nov, 2009
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  1. Abraham Ugochukwu says:

    I know that many fans are bitter about Henry’s misbehaviour, but it’s not fair to rob Thiery Henry of his respect. We all misbehave at some points in our lives. Let football fans not condemn and destroy Henry’s reputation because of one misbehaviour in a remarkable career!

  2. petrovitch says:

    I fully agree with that. Mr Henry said to irish players “sorry, good game” as all premierleague players do every saturday.Sorry for the irish who deserve to win… Hey, what about Italia ?

  3. Soccer says:

    Pull your head in mate. Henry is a great player and a superstar. How do you know if his an honest man or not? Who are you to judge his character? Please, take a pill…

    Same thing happened in the 86 world cup and it got labelled the hand of God. This time we will call it the hand of Frog.

    Have you ever played for your country? Better still, have you ever played the game? With comments like that, I strongly doubt it.

    Was it Henry’s fault that the refs didnt pick it up?
    What were the linesmen doing?
    I read this blog religiously and have never seen a post like this one. Hopefully its the first and last.

  4. David Nugent says:

    Soccer, yeah of course I’ve played the game. And if you read this blog religiously then you must of read my other articles. Your obviously not Irish are you? And you obviously don’t have any Irish relatives do you? I’m not Irish but I have lots of family in Ireland and they were disgusted last night.

    I have to admit I have played devils advocate here. I agree with you about him being a great player and a superstar. Who is anybody to judge anybody’s character?

  5. Bobby says:

    To be fair he is hardly attacking Henrys personality or character. The fact of the matter is that he did cheat, he handled the ball in what looked like a deliberate manner and got the win as a result.

    But it was one low point in a career of many highs. I agree with everything in this article. With the performance the Irish put in, they deserved to go through to the world cup, and it must be sickening for them to lose in such a way.

    I read this blog religiously and often agree with this writer, I hope that there are many more!

  6. Blossom says:

    Henry is a great player, but I do not understand why he had to do what he did TWICE. I have no love for the Republic of Ireland, but they were blatantly the better side and were robbed, due a distasteful handball.

    I’m still in favour of bringing in replays to help referees in certain circumstances.

  7. Brad says:

    I read the blog, religiously. And I agree with you guys, Henry has had a career with tooooo many highs to be marred by this one low. I dont think Henry did it on purpose, he might have had the wrong reaction:Instead of kick the football, hit it with your hand.
    I forgive Henry for his handball, as I dont think it was deliberate. But I wont forgive Maradona, who’s “Hand of God” crap was brought up by Soccer (with all due respect man, but it was obviously a deliberate handball Maradona made). when it happens deliberately, I dont forgive easily.

  8. Soccer says:

    Whether I’m Irish or not is irrelevant don’t you think. At the end of the day soccer loses in this case.

    Did he cheat? Yes he did.

    What upsets me is that everyone is attacking him as a human being. Honesty? Character? What a load of bullshit! Anyone given the same opportunity, in that split second would have REACTED the same way. People make mistakes every day of their lives.

    Henry reacted under pressure for the benefit of his country. World Cups come and go every 4 years. Henry will be playing in his last World Cup next year.

    Was this act premeditated? No it wasn’t. If he was caught using enhancing performance drugs, different story.

    A better question to this madness might be
    “what was the referee and more importantly the linesmen doing when this occurred?”

    It’s not Henry’s job to regulate the game is IT?

    Anyway, when all is said and done, Henry will be remembered as one of the most feared strikers in the world, possibly the best player in the world at one stage at Arsenal. This incident doesn’t even warrant an explanation from the player.

    Regards Thomas

  9. Screw Fifa says:

    So irelnad wont be going to the Fifa world cup after being cheated out of the right to qualify fairly, not once but technically three times! (seeding and TWO handballs! TWO!!!!)

    I would rather miss the world cup than qulaify in the way the french have. Shame on them. Shame on Fifa who are probably throwing a party at irelands expense. Next time we’ll qualify, win the trophy and leave it on the podium because we dont need to win a trophy organised by cheats and an organisation that condones cheating. Fifa fair play? yeah right.

  10. xavi89 says:

    stop discussing about henry being ‘great’ or ‘shameful’, it’s just another incident that supports the fact that nowadays soccer can no longer be refereed by human only, means of using video replays to make judgement is wiser than anything else.

    some ppl may say its wasting the time in a match everytime doing a replay. actually it can be set in a way that, for example, only when a controversial occasion occurs the video replays are available for the referee to make judgement. who will doubt the goal if it’s so obvious and beautifully done??

    thus in my opinion, we should beg FIFA to allow such method to be adopted to help improve the game.(it still depends on what is the real fact of the inner circle….maybe they don wan more ‘facts’ to be exposed and they like chaos in soccer)

  11. Brad says:

    Xavi, you are correct about the need to use video replays in football. They do it here in the U.S. with our version of football, as a matter of fact.
    But what’s done is done. There really isnt any use of continuing a discussion here. As controversial as Henry’s handball was, it wont force FIFA to take any action. We all know how ridiculous they are. They put the result as a French win, 2-1 on aggregate (though I will say that really Ireland should be in the WC) so we must comply. I dont like saying that, but FIFA is the ruling body of world football. What their records for any match is the “official” record.

  12. Chelsea FC Fan says:

    just wanted to be part of the action, so I thought i’d copy’n’paste an earlier post I made under a similar article…

    Calls for video and extra officials? really? again? 30 years in the making and still no results…oh well – life goes on, no?

    so, France’s 70 million strong population times x-amount of viewers is greater than Ireland’s 7 million strong population times x-amount of viewers…hmmmm – if I wanted to make another billion dollars this world cup, i’d probably want to keep my mouth shut about this, hope it blows over quick, and try to ensure that the largest populationed countries progress to the final stages of the tournament. Of course, a small country here and there makes for a good David and Goliath story, but stories are for children…FIFA is here to make money bi$&*ez.

    Call it conspiracy theory, speculative or whatever you want…i’m aware of the implications of what i’ve posted, but the idea is to put pressure on FIFA to adopt fair play in every professional match and if that means calling FIFA out on speculative ambitions, so be it. We’ve watched countless matches end up in this dilemma, and each time FIFA’s response is that it is up to the ref’s discretion…well, when ref’s are being paid to influence matches, who’s discretion is it up to then? You cannot trust any human being when money is involved b/c humans will be human and the competitive spirit to win can cause you to do drastic things – there needs to be some control over that.

    xavi89 said it perfectly – “nowadays soccer can no longer be refereed by human only, means of using video replays to make judgement is wiser than anything else”…wise words xavi89.

    As for Henry’s character – every single one of my soccer-playing friends said they would do the exact same thing if it was a world cup qualifying game…what that tells me is that humans will cheat, but they do not like to get cheated. Again, there needs to be some control over that.

    Hey Dave – maybe you can get some FIFA officials to answer some of your reader’s questions sometime?

  13. Brad says:

    Hey, CFC Fan, that would be a good idea. Have the officials come online and answer some of our questions.

    Such as:



    I know that makes me sound like I dont want France to be there in SA next summer, but I do. In fact, I would’ve liked it if both Ireland and France could go. But of course, only one of them can. . . (sigh)

  14. Chelsea FC Fan says:

    Brad – dude, you’re going to have to learn a little professionalism if you want to turn pro…you can’t be talking like that to the FIFA gods… they’ll have you playing ladies soccer before you know it and you don’t want to have to face Elizabeth Lambert do you?? lol

  15. David Nugent says:

    Brad and Chelsea FC Fan I have already been intouch with FIFA and they have declined my invitation for somebody to answer my readers questions. I didn’t they would agree but it was worth a try.

    Just thought I’d say as regular readers of my articles I appreciate your opinions and thoughts.

  16. Brad says:

    Yeah, CFC Fan, I need to keep a cool head. But I think the losing my head shows how much more of a “Soccer”holic I am.
    Shame FIFA has to act like this and run away from the reporters afterwards.
    I dont blame Henry for handballing, all players do it deliberately at times, but I do blame him for not being professional about it. I know, its only a foul if the ref blows the whistle. But in this case, the fans should put their foots down, hard. They have every right.. .

  17. gooner-11 says:

    personally, i dont think any foul is necessarily a cheat unless you can say it was deliberate, though if i was Irish i might be screaming bloody murder too, definitely hard to swallow.

    the problem was the ref, so the problem is fifa – no way those pompous bastards are going to do shit.

    in Henry’s defense, the ball was coming in too fast for him to really move, actually, it doesn’t even really look like his hand moved at all IF your not watching it 100x slower than real time. it also looks like the ball ricochets off of an Irish player, and if that was truly the case, im sure a player of Henrys quality was lining up a different play.

    his only fault, i think, was his initial celebrating but, under those circumstances, AS IF an Irish (or any other meaningless nationality you can think of) player would have done any different.

    also, i think Henry’s own call for the replay of the match takes more balls than putting up the fuss.

    similarly to that eduardo crucifixion earlier this year, is the player supposed to go to the ref and tell him to change his mind and face the scrutiny of every fan, every player, every manager, and every coach he ever plays with again?

    also, what happens if its called off?
    the game keeps going until it goes to penalties.
    why does everyone think Ireland would have won them?

    i dont know.

  18. Brad says:

    I dont see how Ireland would’ve won, but you never know.
    Thank you, gooner, for sharing us the information about Henry lining up a different play. I really dont think Henry noticed the ball hitting his hand until a second afterward. By then, he was kicking the football to his teammate. The second handling situation, right after the first, can be called a “natural reflex”. It was delberate, yes, but it was also a natural reflex.

    I think we can forgive Henry for this one incident. . .

  19. baka says:

    Ex-gooner cheated. Yawn!

  20. Brad says:

    Oh, shut up. And stop huffing the crack man.

    The hating on players from rival teams needs to stop, just so you know.

    Anyway, like I said, we can forgive Henry for this one incident.

  21. Pawlu Frendo says:

    domenech is an idiot.. they only keep him because he has a large contract and they would have to pay his wages after sacking him . . . they should thank henry for cheating their way to the world cup . . again on domenech leaving the likes of frey, viera and trezeguet and other stars out is total stupidity if you ask me . . .

  22. Brad says:

    Oh, did he really do that? That was retarded. . .

  23. michael says:

    Henry is a good player, but an over rated one. He cheated and what he did is embarassing. Even more embarassing is the refeering that did’nt see it. It should have been seen and Henry to be given a straight red card. Maradona is one of the greatest ever and he still takes s*** for the hand of god incident. This shows that FIFA will never replay a match no matter what. This game was to decide entry into the greatest soccer tournament there is, and Ireland was robbed.

  24. Brad says:

    That much is obvious, Michael. Glad someone (no offense to everyone else) finally got to the point.

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