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
Republic of Ireland concede defeat in replay bid over Henry handball(Guardian)
The Republic of Ireland have been forced to admit defeat in their efforts to be granted a replay of their World Cup play-off clash with France. After Fifa rejected their appeals to have the second leg of the tie replayed because of Thierry Henry's handball in the run-up to William Gallas' decisive goal, the Football Association of Ireland, backed by the France skipper Henry, had turned to the French Football Federation.
However, the FFF has ruled out the possibility, and France will now take their place in next summer's finals in South Africa while Ireland will remain at home, the victims of what they believe has been a gross miscarriage of justice.
The FAI chief executive John Delaney said today: "We regret that despite our best efforts for a replay, which would have restored the integrity of the game in front of a worldwide audience, our calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears at the French Football Federation.
"Without doubt, the credibility of fair play has been damaged by this incident in front of a worldwide audience. Despite our deep disappointment, we thank our players, the wonderful Irish fans and the Irish public at large for their support, as well as the solidarity of the French people. We will continue to call on Fifa to take action to ensure that such damaging examples of cheating are not allowed to recur."
An FFF spokesman had earlier said: "Fifa is the ruler of the game and we have to abide by what they say. They have ruled it will not be replayed so we should move on."
France's Manchester United defender Patrice Evra also ridiculed calls for the second leg to be replayed and offered a rematch on his Playstation. "In football there are injustices all the time," he told L'Equipe. "Titi doesn't deserve this. Leave him be. Who made the mistake? The referee.
"When I think that certain politicians want to replay the match ... They don't even know if the ball is round or oval and they would be the first to come and drink champagne in South Africa. The replay, I'll do it when you want on a Playstation."
Meanwhile, around 100 Irish fans gathered at the French embassy in Dublin today to call for a replay of last week's controversial World Cup qualifier. Demonstrators waved flags as they marched from Lansdowne Road to the French embassy.
Retired politics teacher Vincent Lavery, 73, claimed the dispute was all about money. "The issue is global. We are telling young people and the entire world that the governing body of the largest sport in the world, football, condones cheating without any repercussions," he said. "If you did it in education or business you would be fired and put in jail yet these people are allowed to get away with it."