2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa European Qualifying Play-off round 2nd leg France 1-1(Aggregate: 2 - 1 Match decided after extra time) Republic of Ireland @ Stade de France - Paris - France
Republic of Ireland:Keane 32
Furious Irish demand World Cup replay after controversial handball(Guardian)
The Republic of Ireland have told Thierry Henry and France that they have a moral obligation to grant them a rematch of Wednesday night's World Cup play-off second-leg, from which France progressed to the finals in South Africa following Henry's controversial "Hand of God" assist.
The Football Association of Ireland, which has made a formal complaint to Fifa, has written to the France Football Federation to urge them to "look at themselves" and, consequently, suggest to world football's governing body that the match ought to be re-staged.
John Delaney, the FAI chief executive, insists that there is a precedent for such action. In 1999, Arsenal successfully persuaded the authorities to sanction a re-match of an FA Cup fifth-round tie with Sheffield United, after they had scored a winning goal that was against the spirit of the game. Ireland's manager Giovanni Trapattoni fully supports his association's campaign. "France can maybe begin the process [for a replay]," he said. "If Fifa feels that the French are upset, we are ready to play."
"From the French FA point of view," said Delaney, "they need to look at themselves in this situation. Henry is their captain and a wonderful footballer but does he want to be like Diego Maradona and his legacy to be this handball, this goal that got them to the World Cup in an unjust manner? This was a defining game with the whole world watching and if Fifa believe in fair play and integrity, this is their opportunity to step forward."
It is inconceivable that Fifa will intervene unilaterally to order a rematch, as the tie hinged on an oversight by the Swedish referee Martin Hansson and his assistant, rather than a misapplication of a point of law. Irish hopes, therefore, appear to rest on France making the gesture. Henry articulated an apology on his Twitter page – "I am not the ref ... if I hurt someone, I am sorry," he wrote – and it is understood that Arsène Wenger, his former manager at Arsenal, who was at the game, had been keen for him to do so. But higher powers than Henry appear keen to sweep the issue under the carpet.
There is the feeling in some quarters that refereeing decisions have evened themselves out over the campaign for France. They continue to believe their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris should not have been sent off against Serbia in Belgrade and also feel replays show that Nicolas Anelka was fouled inside the penalty area by the Ireland goalkeeper, Shay Given, minutes before the Henry handball flashpoint.
"We have had refereeing mistakes against us in our qualification campaign," said Jean-Pierre Escalettes, the FFF president. "If we replayed every match because of an incident like that, we would spend the whole time playing replays. I am really happy. I share the great success of our players on the pitch."
France's coach, Raymond Domenech, said: "I don't understand why we have been judged guilty. On the pitch, I didn't see the handball. Since then I have seen the video and it's a mistake by the referee. I don't understand why we are expected to say sorry. We are not going to commit hara-kiri because the referee made a mistake and this time in our favour."
Henry said: "Do I stop, tell the referee and then cross? Very funny." Yet Wenger believes the striker should have informed the referee that he had handled. "Well, one should but one doesn't, we know, with the pressure and what's at stake," he said.
"I am not content because France shouldn't gain qualification with these things. All the stadium has seen the handball but the referee hasn't. This isn't the French way and football should learn from this. I have spoken to Titi [Henry] after the game and he knows it was not correct but it is up to the referee also to stop the play."
Nicolas Sarkozy, the France President, interviewed on television said: "It was a really difficult game and Ireland played really well. I was frightened [but] the essential thing is that the French team have qualified." Later he added he could not support calls for a rematch, after Ireland's prime minister, Brian Cowen, raised the issue at a European Union summit in Brussels. "I told Brian Cowen how sorry I was for them but don't ask me to substitute myself for the referee, or the French football authorities, or the European football authorities: leave me right where I am."
The FFF paid €120m at the beginning of the campaign for the TV rights to the finals in South Africa and they would be worth significantly less to them if France were not present in South Africa.
Irish anger, however, continues to burn. "Is there a conspiracy? Definitely. Adidas sponsor the World Cup, they sponsor France," said the winger Damien Duff, who wears Adidas boots. "Michel Platini [Uefa's president] has a lot of influence as well. Maybe we'd have a better chance of going to the World Cup if it was sponsored by Umbro. That's the way the world goes around at the minute. Fifa have to take a long, hard look at themselves now. The [seeded play-off] draw and now the [handball] decision. Incredible. We feel so cheated."
"I am disappointed with Henry," said Given, "he cheated to win the game. I don't often say that but that's how it was. He clearly cheated and they won the game from that. I have seen the replays. He stopped it [with a hand] and then he pulled it in again. It was so blatant. The ref tried to say it was his chest but it was nowhere near his chest. It was disgusting."
アンリは彼のTwitter page上で「im not the referee... but if i hurt some one im sorry」と謝罪しており、ハンドであったことは間違いないようだ。