November 19th, 2009

WC Qualifiers: The Thierry Henry Show

Thierry Henry

Image via Reuters

So, guess we’d better talk about this whole Thierry Henry situation then.

We watched the France v Ireland game live last night, and thoroughly enjoyed the always sexy Irish and their fighting spirit as well as the very pretty French team in their brilliantly tight kits. Of course, now our happy memories of both are squashed by the furore over Thierry Henry’s handball. It’s a craptastic way to win and lose a massive game, that’s for sure.

A variety of opinions for you to consider (we’re struggling to find any that take up much by way of defense for Thierry). What’s yours? If the goal had been disallowed, do you think Ireland would have gone on to win the game? Is the ref to blame?

More from the other WC qualifiers later.

Re: comments, feel free to speak your mind, but anything remotely xenophobic will get put in the bin.

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99 Responses to “WC Qualifiers: The Thierry Henry Show”

  1. Sam says:

    omg, u cant fault anyone for trying to win a game. Ok, henry did handle the ball, but if the ref blew his whistle, would a there have been a huge uproar? If france didnt score as a result of the handball would we really be bothered???? This is what referees are for, to stop the players from cheating and fouling, and he didnt do his job. everyone needs to get over it, france won end of!

    • Susie says:

      But they didnt win, they cheated.

      The Irish should be going to WC instead of that lacklustre French side, who no doubt will be eliminated first round….unless they get more blind eyes from the officials!

  2. Toni Waters says:

    There is a punishment which perfectly fits this crime: Henry should be banned from participating in the W C Finals. It really is that simple.

  3. CNB says:

    Sadly not surprising, FIFA has shown the world that they just pay lip service to “fair play”.

    I hope that France has to play against one of their former colonies in the first round and gets knocked out.

  4. B!tch.plz. says:

    What T.Hen did was, in Drogba’s words a “f*cking disgrace”, but don’t kid yourselves in2 believing any other footballer would not have done the same thing. He isn’t there 2 enforce the rules, he is there 2 win. And no matter how long n loud we bitch and moan, how many FB groups we join, how much you h8 on T.Hen, France is still going 2 the WC. So it wasn’t fair 2 Ireland, well, neither is life. Stop blaming Henry because the ref and linesmen didn’t do their job.

  5. sinead says:

    to be honest if henery done it by “mistake’ when he see Given running up to thr ref complaing of a hand ball why didnt he say to the ref i did handle the ball then and not say it after the match as when ever i play soccer for my club are manger but a huge enphasizes on telling the truth when something happen as it fair play i hope ireland gets the match replayed as it is only fair and henery shouldnt be allowed to play for what he done

  6. SamJ says:

    The ref saw every one of Robbie Keanes hand balls and wasnt afraid to blow for them. how come he cudnt do the same with Thierry Henry?

  7. lonelySTARSHINE says:

    I really don't care if he played with his hand or not, I'm sooooo happy France is going to the World Championship!!! So I can finally watch Gourcuff on TV in HQ, instead on low-resolution live streams here on internet! YAY!!! XD

  8. Trisha says:

    Its easy to blame Henry or the ref…. but in actual, it should actually be Fifa to be blamed. In this day, FIFA should take a decision to have a tech ref to clarify things like this. We have a 3rd umpire in cricket, we have it in rugby. Why not soccer.

    That is what technology is there for. Use it!!! A decision should have been taken immediately after the goal. IF there was an extra ref, he should have made the decision to disallow the goal.

    Its really sad… because at the end of the day fairness is all that counts!!!

    • mimi says:

      These things happen, not that often, but they do, and I would go as far as to say that FIFA won’t introduce larger amount of the new technology in games because it would give them less chance to controle the results. FIFA is a profitable organisation, and when big money is at stake, they can’t afford to lose it. I would like to believe it’s about football, but it’s really not anymore.

  9. FirstTeamCoach says:

    Well well, what a surprise. FIFA have said the game will not replayed. No surprises there then.

  10. liesjuhh says:

    Why don’t they just replay the game?? Henry admitted the hands bal after the game was over. It’s very sad for the Irish if they lose because of a hands bal in such an important game.

  11. Momo says:

    I’m absolutely loyal to Spain, so of course I would be a little bitter for the Irish when it comes to France and Henry. (Also, where I come from, I drown in Irish Americans, so I feel their pain.) However, I agree with Henry when he says he’s not entirely to blame. The refs should’ve done a better job. You can’t show favor to a side just because one of them is shiner and has bigger names. It sucks that the double standard exists and some of the classiest and strongest players like Keane are subject to it. Sure, Ireland may have been statistically doomed against France, but they prevailed. The real test would’ve only come from penalties. Also, I’m all in favor for a rematch if that’ll happen, but knowing FIFA this tragedy is dead and done.

  12. Pamela says:

    Henry is a cheater. And the refs knew that he touched the ball with his hand and didnt call the fault. Henry should have actually gotten a red card! The whole worlds saw the hand, plus there is also video to prove it, so its real dirty that it was allowed. The game should be played again.

  13. While do I feel really bad for Ireland, I don't think Thierry Henry is to blame. It is the ref and linesman's fault. Henry simply did what all players would do in such a situation and played on.

    • Pamela says:

      Re-read my post. I am blaming the refs as well. Blame them for not red carding Henry, even though there is video to prove the fault. Its both Henry(for being a cheater ofcourse) and the refs and linesman for allowing it.

  14. Dannie says:

    I don't think Henry purposefully touched the ball. It was a reaction and the ref didn't see it… it happens. Its unfortunate that the french had to go through this way. They were in control for so much of the game. They were really playing well and if they didn't get a goal then and somehow the irish would have kept them from scoring, i think they would have had the upperhand on PKs. Those guys are good under pressure and Loris was incredible that game.

  15. agger♥lover says:

    ok well i didn’t see this but from the way that guy’s pointing and screaming…… henry dived. but apparently he did NOT infact dive he just handled the ball no big deal right just one little country unfairly losing out on worlldcup status. however let’s not go all ‘eduardo witch hunt’ on poor henry and this is comming from someone who does not like henry and supports france for 2 reasons and 2 reasons alone thaey go by the names of yoann and nasri :) and now i will take time to laugh at rusia HAHAHA!!! there i’m done sorry pav baby i just hate hiddink

  16. wildflower says:

    Ireland was robbed, and it happened to Bosnia & Herzegovina against Portugal too. FIFA just couldn’t let it be all fair, the refs did a dirty job in both games… I guess next time they can just organise the WC withouth the qualifiers, so all the teams that bring the most money to FIFA can play. the little ones are just not interesting to them. FIFA (un)fair play…

    • Venice says:

      Hmm… but if that were true then Ukraine and Russia would’ve been through as well, as they’d bring way more money than Greece or Slovenia respectively? I don’t like FIFA either, but I suppose sometimes it is about ref’s errors, as ridiculous as they may seem. However, what Fifa do after that is disgusting, they should correct it but we know they’ll just leave it as it is.
      Also, Bosnia were unlucky but robbed is a bit harsh, no?

      • laz says:

        To be far, Portugal qualified for the world cup fair and square yesterday and the ref seemed to be fair in both games for that one (though hopefully portugals indifferent form will continue on in the wc and for once England will be the ones doing the knocking out and previous knockouts by portugal were a curse of one Luis Felipe Scolari and not Portugal themselves.
        Back on topic, the main villain of the piece is probably the ref and not henry. Yes it was intentional handball by the looks of things but it could be one of those things that Henry did without thinking, then 10 sec later thought ‘****, i just cheated then!’ The ref however was a disgrace and should be banned from these sorts of matches from the future. But i have a feeling that he was acting on higher orders from fifa and even if it had been the other way around and it was ireland who handballed in the process of the goal scoring than the ref would of made the right decision (and even if not, you can bet that fifa would of ordered the replaying of the match).
        I feel very sorry for the irish as it would of been nice to see some more surprize packages in the wc this yr but i don’t feel angry at the french as most comments from french citizens that i’ve heard so far are those of embarrassment and i’m sorry to say that like a lot of people if France end up winning the wc2010 then a lot of us will feel quite ill.
        But we all know that fifa wanted both France and Portugal to qualify for commercial reasons but the joke is now on Fifa as unfortunately for france they are now villains of the piece and apart from the Portuguese themselves and 50% of neutrals not many ppl wanted to see portugal in the world cup down to the whole last minute seeding fiasco and the fact that both teams have been quite dire and boring over the last 2 years and act like they have a right over other countries to always be in these competitions even if they are playing awfully at the time. I personally get excited about a ‘underdog’ going on a long run in these competitions because it brings some unpredictability to the plot but i think that both teams will go out early in the world cup as neither teams have learnt the lessons and got the kick up the backside that both teams have been overdue so it’s coming!

        • wildflower says:

          About Portugal, the refs were fair and equaly judging only the first ten minutes of the game, and after that, when they realised it would not be that easy for Portugal, they started having double standards. It wasn't just innocent errors, it was obviously pretencious. Really, just look at the yellow card stats, from both games…

          Portugal might have won anyways, and might have not, but this way it seems really unfair. And I realise that it is much more interesting to watch C. Ronaldo than any of the Bosnian guys, but I say, why bother then, if it's all about sponsorship deals and not about football anymore? Honestly, C.Ron played awfully in all the qualifying matches…

        • Venice says:

          I'm not trying to play devil's advocate, but I was confused because I thought that, until that handball, officiating was quite good. E.g., there was that Anelka penalty shout but the ref correctly booked him for diving. That could've been a way more 'elegant' way to fix result than to do such a blatantly obvious error on purpose. The usual pattern of stealing is through 'little' things. That's why I thought it was a genuine mistake rather than planned.

          I don't doubt that Fifa and Uefa sometimes actively fix results, but sometimes it is more down to incompetent referees. If there are useless footballers, then there are useless officials as well. I do agree with you though, Fifa and Uefa won't sanction it if the consequence of such error suits their interests, but will if it doesn't.

          In the end, I'm very sorry Ireland didn't make it when they were the better team over both legs, and I'm especially sorry they went out like this. It's a sad thing for football.

        • bubbly_cheryl says:

          i agree with your statement, henry admitted that he messed up and the game (if FIFA actually look and follow their own rules) should be replayed, but they won’t let it. The refs should have spotted that, if not the handball, the blatant offside!

  17. ruthieunited says:

    one thing i don't understand about football is why they won't accept new technology!

    things like this happen a lot and the Irish players new that there was a handball so why not get a video referee they are a lot less likely to miss something and then things like this wouldn't happen.

    it is an unfortunate situation.

  18. Innocenza says:

    Ireland was robbed. Pure and simple. If the game had gone to PKs, I think France would have had the edge, but we’ll never know.

    As far as Henry goes, does anyone remember the France-Spain game in the 2006 World Cup? Catching up to a defender running away from him, slamming into his back and falling on the ground holding his face, among other things. In my experience, if France is going to win by cheating, Henry will have been involved in the play.

    And I was all excited about Yoann maybe getting naked on the pitch again.

    • Susie says:

      Im glad someone else remembers that incident that was meant to get Puyol sent off.

      I dont know why anyone is so shocked by this.

      Its not the first time Henry has resorted to cheating but Im happy to see him finally get his just reward for it! :)

      Somewhere, Ricardo Carvalho and Carles Puyol are smiling.

      • Winnie says:

        there was also Henry’s blatant dive against Portugal in the semis of the 2006 WC…followed by Zidane’s abusive penalty which landed right on the line. It was compltely humiliating. Seriously, is anyone really SURPRISED that it was Henry doing the cheating? It’s ALWAYS him and he seldom gets called on it. I’m seventeen and have only really been paying attention to the game on a serious level since WC 2006, but every controversial incident Henry’s been involved in has, in my eyes, taken away from the fact that he is considered a “brilliant” player. not to mention the fact that i will always be bitter about how he turned his back on Arsenal in favour of Barcelona…

  19. FirstTeamCoach says:

    I am so proud of the way the Irish lads played and especially proud of their dignity at the end of the game, and I am not Irish.

    All other points have already been covered and I nothing positive to add, so that is all.

  20. bowsie22 says:

    It was offside and handball. Now evidently, Henry told the ref that he used his hand and ha has since admitted it, so I am blaming both of them and the officials. >:( The FAI is asking for a rematch, but I’ll doubt we’ll get it. No one really cares about Ireland internationally when it comes to soccer, except the Irish, who created an amazing atmosphere the entire competition. Our boys should be proud. We fought to the end and we’re still fighting. :D France do not deserve to be in the World Cup and I’m saying this as a born and bred Irish girl. Also, they made Damien Duff, and many others,including me cry. You just don’t do that. T_T Ireland should have won and if it wasn’t for a blind ref and ignorant officials we would have, I’m certain of that. It was a crap way to lose and the French team should be ashamed. They didn’t get through on their own merit, but by blatantly breaking two important rules. And I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but I needed to rant. All we can hope for now is a good, FAIRLY PLAYED, World Cup.

  21. Gr33n_D3vil says:

    its a shame France won that way && Ireland played the best they have ever played!! The was da ball offside && handballed twice!!! they should replay the match && the games should have video refs. like other sports. its totally unfair!!! =[ =”[ =”[ =”[ =[

  22. Mila says:

    That was cheating. Yes, it was. However, If you were in Henry’s place, and you had your nation and your teammates depending on you, would you turn yourself in? I don’t think I would. The refs should have caught it though. I completely agree with adding a couple more refs to Fifa games.

    • Rusty (Mrs Clemens F says:

      This is exactly what I wanted to say, Mila.

    • CNB says:

      How sad that the "win at all costs" mentality has become more prevalent than good sporting behaviour. It must be a hollow victory for France, knowing that they did not EARN the privilege to be one of the 32 teams going to WC 2010.

  23. eire says:

    I don't blame Henry for sending Ireland out of the World Cup. As Kevin Doyle said in the a post-match interview, any footballer would have tried the same thing, its just instinct. However I do think that its disgraceful that none of the officials called it for what it was: offside and a blatant handball.

    It's ironic how FIFA places huge emphasis on "fairplay" in the game and yet when an incident like this occurs they brush it aside. It's true that Ireland did miss plenty of chances but they played out of their skin last night and did not deserve to exit the way they did. It felt like it was finally going to be our night. The whole country's in uproar and rightly so, we were robbed.

  24. katka says:

    i’m defending henry not because i agree on hand goals/offside goals/diving/etc, but bc i know and i guess all of you know the nature of the game. everything happens SO fast, you are exalted, over your nerves, its extra time, you HAVE to win, the ball is coming in your direction and everything else is human instinct. instinct and that’s it. i am totally convinced that for example when a brutal tackle happens no one has ever seriously MEANT injuring/hurting the other player, it is only a matter of seconds, a bad movement, what was actually planned to be ‘clean’ and you messed up, you were late, the ball was too fast, whatever. divers (not talking about the notorious ones, ofcourse) don’t usually plan to cheat, just in that very second lose their head, panick about the two defenders closing up on him, all they see is either be tackled or keep it somehow, anyhow. and there comes the referree, whose job is to filter these ‘unintentional’, badly placed, foulish elements out of the game. and here is the mistake in this case. it is really can’t be compared to robbery or murder or whatever in the sense of not getting caught-no problem thing. of course, henry didn’t get caught then, they did qualify, everyone knows it wasn’t rightful, but i think it’s unfair to condemn him or say he is a routine cheater or whatever. he did what he did, for sure it wasn’t the result of him being a bad person or whatever. there was someone though who missed his duty, the referee.

  25. carly says:

    Bring on video replays, chips, video refs…whatever! Football these days is a lie.

  26. aristeia says:

    The whole thing has made me ill. As an Azzurri supporter, I’ve had my share of drama w/ the French but I don’t want to make them out to be the bad guy. It’s hard to be happy for them in this case though. And I’m really sad that it was Titi b/c I like him so much. I’m just so crushed for the Irish…

  27. Teamtoto says:

    I'm feeling sorry for Henry :? :( i'm not saying that what he did was justified BUT it happens all the time in football. You have every right to be angry and upset (hell, i would have been if it had happened to Spain) but there's nothing that can be done now. I'd like FIFA to let the game to be replayed, fair and square, but i doubt they will. What Henry did was desperate, but let's think for a moment: he was caught up in the moment, and then they got a goal that France desperately needed, he wasn't about to go and yell "no no no, it's wrong, it doesn't count!" His teammate would also have been gutted if it was cancelled…

    Anyway, my point is, he was wrong but he's human and there's nothing more to be done about it. Unless FIFA do the right thing of course :/

  28. Yani says:

    Thierry didn’t do anything wrong. He wasn’t the referre, he didn’t make the call, and he admitted to his mistake. People need to get off his back. I’m all for a re-match.

    • tammyv says:

      He did a lot wrong, like he violated the laws of the game… There is one steadfast rule. No hands.

      The ref should have called it, that is true but he is not without a lot of fault. Had he not cheated, this would not be an issue

    • Regiane says:

      I’m sorry Yani but if touching the ball with your hands TWICE is not cheating, i don’t know what is. Could you enlighten us then?

  29. Lucy says:

    Hmmm I do feel bad for Ireland because if England had gone out like that I would not be able to deal with it at all :( I remember when we got screwed over by France in the dying moments at Euro 2004 so I empathise (although it was our own fault _._) But I'm not an Ireland fan and although it's a real shame for them, I don't think they'll be missed much. Unfortuantely these things happen in football and unless they get video technology involved, it's going to continue.

  30. Venice says:

    So disappointed :-(

  31. Boston Red says:

    I am still without words. I’ve never been so gutted over a football decision. Henry cheated. The handballs were intentional (you will never convince me otherwise so don’t bother) and the officiating was disgraceful then. FIFA did get exactly what they wanted. It was one of the best performances from an Irish team ever and for them to go down like that is just sickening. Yes we had some missed chances that should have been taken advantage of and who knows – we may have lost on the penalties or France could have scored a good goal if Gallas’ was disallowed or vice versa. I just hope the lads know how proud Ireland are of them.

    • MUfcMarie says:

      I completely agree with you. It’s one thing to lose honourably, but to go out because of cheating and hidden agendas is just disgusting. As hard as it is to talk about this and to know that our World Cup dreams were so unjustly stolen from us, I am so completely proud of how the Irish team played last night. Robbie Keane especially had an amazing game, and we deserved to win. Still, I’m so proud of everything that we accomplished in this campaign.

  32. chris says:

    I'm French…but i'm not happy how we got to the world cup and that we did…because if we didn't then we would have got ridden of domenech …i mean seriously even if you put a man form the street instead of domenech he will make a better job….how in the world is it possible to play like that and have gourcuff henry anelka in the team…the irish played well spectacular and it's not fair they will stay home…and to be honest i don;t like the fact that portugal qualified either..

  33. Rusty (Mrs Clemens F says:

    Also, I'm a France fan, and I think if they can somehow replay the game, they should. I have no comment on Henry, because if I were to make one, I'd feel like a hypocrite.

    • Jess Gourcuff says:

      well i was hoping that france would go to the world cup just because of my love gourcuff… but ireland was playing much better and they tottaly deserved to go… sorry yoann:(

      they should replay that game… cause was really not fair

      About Henry i think that he saw the opportunity to put his hand on the ball, he took that opportunity, the referee didn't saw it… so not really henry's fault…. but i think that he was feeling bad at the end of the game bc he wasn't all smiles like the other french player were…. maybe he was saving it for the party afterwards

  34. Ireland were fantastic on the night but paid for chances not taken. No one could fault their heart or spirit. They certainly deserved to go to penalties, which is where the game was headed before Henry cheated. In defence of the referee, he did an excellent job up to that point, including ignoring a disgusting dive for a penalty by Anelka. Why blame Henry, Katka? Because Henry handled the ball, not once, but TWICE, with obvious intent And then after admitting the handball under pressure from the media, he refused to apologize, and he says it’s the officials’ job to spot the infringement. So it’s okay then to rob a bank if the police don’t catch you? We need video technology. And we need Fifa to stop protecting their favourite teams. Anyway, back to Henry, you can take the boy out of Arsenal but you can’t take Arsenal out of the boy.

    • Lily says:

      as hard as it is for me to admit, I must say that I have thought exacty the same thing when I saw the goal was accepted. In terms of money, and broadcast rights, I am pretty sure that it was profitable for the FIFA to have France at the World Cup

      I genuinely hope that the referee did not see the hand and did not accept it because it was France.

      I am indeed quite satisfied that it was Henry who was caught cheating as I don't like him and that it is usually not politically correct to say so…

    • tammyv says:

      He did handle it twice…and the ball on the break in that sequence was offsides

    • goalkeeperette says:

      “Anyway, back to Henry, you can take the boy out of Arsenal but you can’t take Arsenal out of the boy.”

      That’s a hilarious thing coming from a Manchester United (aka factory of world class divers with a class act manager who feels the need to publicly name and discuss the club’s worst signing ever just days ago) supporter.

      • Lucy says:

        oh please!!! wenger is even more annoying than Ferguson, what Henry did was shameful

      • Yes, I love and support my great club and have for over 25 years, and I still believe in fair play and application of the rules. The two are not mutually exclusive. Anyone who knows me knows I do not wear red-tinted spectacles when it comes to my team. And what Sir Alex said in jest in a speech at a dinner celebrating his magnificent achievements in the game (1,000 games in management – kudos Sir Alex!) is not pertinent to this discussion. If you'd like to discuss Arsenal's history of diving and cheating, I'm not hard to find around here, and I look forward to it.

        • goalkeeperette says:

          I do not feel any need for discussion, because I know that Wenger can be annoying at times, and I know my team has dived and cheated in the past. I didn't approve of any of it. What I also don't approve of is people trying to imply that it's common practice at Arsenal to succeed by cheating, and that Henry "learned" it here. People should sweep in front of their own door, really.

          Sorry kickette, I'm finished now! ;)

      • Okay gals – let's leave Arsenal and Man Utd's history / debate about diving or cheating off the table. Nothing to do with the referee or the game last night. Take that banter to a different place. Thanks.

  35. CNB says:

    I am thoroughly disgusted at the way France "won". The linesmen didn't call the offside, and then the referee miraculously didn't see Henry handle the ball TWICE!!! WTF? I watched the match from a computer and easily saw what they somehow missed. The refereeing was appalling, and all three should never again be allowed to officiate important matches.

    Thierry Henry is a disgrace to the game and has shown the world that he has no class.

  36. Katie says:

    At first I thought the world may be reacting harshly to Henry but then I saw his post-goal celebration and it was truly disturbing. Would we all expect a player to admit to handling the ball and ask the referee to recall? That’s a tall order. So yes, the assistant referee was to blame.
    And although the players who were positioned offside did not play the ball, they were effective parts of the play in that Given still had to cover them. Henry’s handball shouldn’t have even happened if referees were interpreting the offside rule correctly. Shame, the ref had been stellar up until that moment.
    My only hope is that this disaster will lead to the long overdue implementation of video technology and the Irish can at least have played a major part in that for the greater good of the sport.
    And I’m not sure about penalties- Shay Given is a far superior GK but I’m not sure about the penalty takers themselves. But the Irish deserved a shot at it.
    Very sad. And when Blatter and Platini are done doing their dance of joy, maybe they’ll listen to 95% of the world and usher in video replay.

  37. katka says:

    the goal and the outcome is a disgrace itself, but i’m amazed how can anyone blame henry. blame the ref. goal is what the ref agrees on, its his choice to judge the actions happening in the pitch. its a sport like this, and it can be horrible at times, as it is now.

    ps. im not french at all and i was hoping ireland to win. but i think its unjust to take the piss outta henry.

    • Yani says:

      Thank you! I've been saying this over and over!

    • tammyv says:

      It is easy to blame Henry since he has admitted to knowingly and intentionally cheated… it is that simple, he knew the laws and he violated them intentionally.

      The reffing was a disgrace but so werre Henry's actions and his post-game reaction as well

    • Suzie says:

      Sport is meant to be played by sportsman and last night Henry should that he isn't one. Yes the ref screwed up but their jobs are hard enough as it is without players making it that much harder by blatantly cheating. Players have a responsiblity to play the game fairly and to abide by the laws of the game. Henry didn't. Sadly he's not the 1st and he won't be the last, these days cheating is seen as an acceptable part of the game.

  38. Henry’s handball was inexcusable but the ref & linesmen are really to blame. If they did their jobs properly, that goal would not have been allowed, and Ireland would probably have won the match. I feel terrible for Ireland. A disgusting day in the football world.

    I’m probably wasting my breath but it’s time (long overdue, actually) to bring instant replay into the game. It’s used in hockey, tennis and other sports and it does not delay the game in any major fashion. Time for football to join the 21st century.

    • tammyv says:

      Every thing you said is completely correct…And the worst part for me s that TH14 has not even a shread of remorse over it.

  39. Riya (Come on you Re says:

    First of all I think the ranking system was rigged. Gave all the bigger nations a chance to play what some might call "easier teams." Why not France v Portugal eh? FIFA just wanted the star names in the WC… Second, I support neither France not Ireland but I was absolutely devastated when I saw this. Winning on a handball. How can anyone say they deserved that victory? The poor Irish were absolutely cheated. They played so well. And still didn't get it. Gutted.

    • Rusty (Mrs Clemens Fritz) says:

      Riya, if I remember correctly, the qualifying teams were seeded, so if you’d like to call it “rigged,” go for it.

      • FirstTeamCoach says:

        The seeded rules were brought in only when the play off teams were known. I would agree with ‘rigged’

        • Rusty (Mrs Clemens F says:

          I've not followed the European WC playoffs before – is this the first time the teams were seeded for the playoffs, or is it common?

    • carly says:

      Back in the WC 2006 there were playoffs in the qualification for European teams.

      The two best 2nd places qualified directly and "The six remaining second-place teams were divided into two pots based on their standings in the September 2005 FIFA World Rankings." (wikipedia)

      Pot 1 had Spain, Turkey and Czech Republic; Pot 2 had Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.

      So seeded teams existed before and they always exist in any draw made by FIFA. I don't see how the so-called dodgy changing of the rules happened, and nobody complained before.

      • Rusty (Mrs Clemens F says:

        I spent 20 minutes googling the supposed recent rule change and couldn't find anything recent about it.

        I still think there needs to be a replay and am sad there isn't going to be one.

  40. KateAlonso says:

    I think it’s a scandal that France got the chance to play in WC next year. I don’t support particularly any of the teams above but as I was watching those matches I think I have the right to discuss the case. There was definitely Henry’s handball and shame on him! I lost all my respect for him. Besides I think we should also blame the ref who was for France a little bit. Ireland was the only team there who deserved to win, they were fighting to the end. something should be done about that!

  41. HiL says:

    Well to be honest that was really a disgusting way to win.. I felt really bad for Ireland.
    I wasn’t rooting for anyone but this is a very upsetting way to lose and a really crappy one to win, especially when it involves the World Cup.

  42. I've said it earlier and I'll say it again… video replay would have solved this problem easy peasy.

    FIFA won't bring it in though. If they did their dodgy agenda, making it easier for *some* teams to qualify for such tourneys will be busted — and geez, that can't happen, can it?

    Ireland should be very very proud.

    I'm just extra pissed because in this effort that should have earned Ireland a berth in the WC, our Sheasy is out.

  43. ArseNole says:

    I don't really think Henry should be targeted with so much hatred globally for what I feel was an instinctual reaction. At the same time, I do feel badly for the Irish nation and wish it could have been settled differently.

    http://arsenole.blogspot.com/2009/11/thierry-henr…

  44. lala says:

    so it's ok when maradona does it but it's a crime when henry does it? and henry was actually upset at the end of the game ….he didn't enjoyed the victory and he kept his head down …if he wasn't a world class player he would say that he didn't touched the ball with his hand…but he said he did…by the way what the hell happened with gourcuff he was not at his best at all.. i hear somewhere that he played injured or something like that is that true?

    • Boston Red says:

      Who said it was OK when Maradona did it? I’m quite sure the entire United Kingdom is still pretty upset about that one.

      Yeah Henry looked just devastated when he ran to celebrate the goal after handling it intentionally twice. If he was any kind of man he would have apologized and admitted it was intentional by now. He just joins a long list of shameless cheaters in sport now.

  45. goalkeeperette says:

    I've just watched the highlights because I wasn't able to watch the match yesterday, and I have to say I'm a bit torn on the topic (I'm German btw, so no NT feelings involved).

    I agree with everyone who says the handball was a very disgraceful thing to do and especially at such a stage of the match. And as a long time Arsenal fan it pained me even more because it was Henry, he shouldn't have done it and there is no question about that. Still, I say the biggest mistake was made by the refs – if three pairs of eyes don't see anything like this in the final WC qualifier, you've got the wrong job.

    Now, there's a huge BUT. Everyone knows that referees are human and they DO make mistakes, and sometimes big games may depend on it (Wembley Goal anyone???), so what I always say is, especially when my teams (Arsenal, Germany) are playing: make sure that the result of the match DOES NOT DEPEND on a dodgy referee decision or a stupid own goal or whatever. You just can't sit on your one goal lead and expect everything to go smoothly. If Ireland had used all the excellent chances they had earlier, they couldn't have cared less about the stupid handball. So it's sad for them, but at the same time I'm sure they know they could have done more to win themselves.

    And finally, it's not like any of the saints preaching now would have gone to the FIFA after the match and say: "Oh yes I'm such a bad person and the other team certainly deserved more to qualify, so please send them to South Africa instead." Because that's bullshit. I'd rather have them go without Domenech though, cause he is one of the very few people in football I can absolutely not stand, neither as a person nor a manager.

    So yeah, sometimes you'll just have to live with wrong decisions, I feel sorry for Ireland but stuff like that happens.

  46. Regiane says:

    I'm not an Irish supporter and I have (or had) nothing against the French either… But I've gotta admit that I cried last night when the ref blew his final whistle!!! I felt sooooo sad for the Irish team (they were really really brave!) and the Irish people that I even got a terrible headache after the game because I just could not accept that a team wins its spot in the WC like that! The French did not play well, the Irish lost their chance to score another goal several times but that doesn't justify the terrible mistake.

    Another point: if the linesman had seen that there were offside players just seconds before Henry's cheating hand, none of that would've happened.

    Something else: if Henry is claiming he didn't do it on purpose, why the hell did he have that long crappy face on when the match ended?

    I sincerely offer my symphathy for the Irish Kickette soldiers!!! :(

    • Joan says:

      He looked so down because even though it was accidental, a crap call is no way to win a football match. No one on the French team or in the French fanbase would have ever wanted to win on a mistake that should have been corrected by the refs.

  47. MrsC says:

    I didn't see the match, so as I was catching up with SSN, in all the mess I did not get a chance to appreciate the fine craftsmanship which is that new French National Team kit. Yummers, Mr. Henry. When can Spain get these and can I help Sergio peel his on?

  48. Lily says:

    Being french, I am a bit ashamed by the way we've qualified, and overall the Irish deserved to win. It's a "f… disgrace", as Drogba would have said.

    The story of football is made of referees' mistakes, (think of Maradona's hand of God – not sure of the translation, or the fact that Schumacher was not expelled back in 1982 against France, Italie in 8th final against Australia in 2006) which does not mean it is more excusable.

    What I am the most ashamed of is the fact that nobody, as far as I know, in the French Football Federation apologized towards Ireland and that Henry celebrated this goal and is now saying that he did not do it on purpose.

    In the French public opinion, nobody seems to be happy about this qualification and everybody is speaking of the Bleus' crappy match and its shameful result.

    Anyway, we don't know how the match would have ended if it didn't happen this way…

    • Nurul says:

      "that Henry celebrated this goal and is now saying that he did not do it on purpose."

      Ditto! I've lost any kind of respect towards Henry now… :(

      • Lily says:

        apparently he is now apologizing on Twitter

        too late?

          • Joan says:

            I would just like to say that I think it's really sad that some fans have decided to judge Henry's 15 year career on this one sad instant. What he did was agains the rules, the fact that the refs didn't void the goal is a disgrace but he has given way too much to this sport for us to decide that he is no longer a legend.

            Also, for everyone saying that Ireland should have won or deserved to win, in sports there's no such thing as deserving a victory. Either you win or you don't. That match lasted 120 minutes and that play lasted only a few seconds. It wasn't just that goal that decided the outcome, it was the many opportunities both teams absolutely squandered. Without that goal, it probably would have ended in penalty kicks whose results we can not pretend to know. No one deserved to win the match or should have won the match but France did. They won it on a heinous mistake but they won it nonetheless. I hope video technology is introduced soon but that's all we can really say. The Irish are gutted and the French hate that they won this way; there's no use continuing to wallow in such negative feelings.

            • Joan says:

              My mistake, this was supposed to stand alone not be a response to any specific comment. Also, that twitter account is fake.

  49. LoveLamps says:

    It is not the first time poor officiating has ruined a game. Until the game institutes instant replay or some other similar technology, these things will happen. In honor of the valiant efforts otherwise by both teams, I vote they both go to South Africa. I am glad to personally house Shay Given and Lashes Gourcuff if FIFA will give me a room.