Wednesday 23 January 2019

'I think we should have replayed that game' - Emmanuel Petit says France were 'ashamed' after Thierry Henry handball in World Cup play-off

Thierry Henry’s handball that caused the controversy
Thierry Henry’s handball that caused the controversy Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former France international Emmanuel Petit said Ireland's World Cup play-off game with France in 2009 should have been replayed after Thierry Henry handled the ball in the build-up to the winning goal.

Ireland had forced the French to extra-time in their World Cup play-off match in Paris in 2009 before a William Gallas goal eventually ended their World Cup dream.

France forward Henry had clearly handled the ball in the build-up to the goal, but despite Irish protests the goal stood, and France secured qualification to the 2010 World Cup.

Speaking in Dublin this afternoon, Paddy Power soccer pundit Emmanuel Petit said the manner of victory was unacceptable to many in France..

"I think we should have replayed that game," Petit said.

“To be honest with you we were all ashamed after that game, obviously because that is not the way we wanted to go to the World Cup. That was not acceptable for us. Even for the players on the pitch, I spoke with William Gallas, he’s a very good friend of mine, and he said the same thing.

"But at the end of the day it was not our decision. There were referees on the pitch and officials. FIFA could have done something. They could have replayed the game three days after that.”

“There were rumours that some players wanted to replay that game but unfortunately, it was not their decision. FIFA should have done something about it. But I can assure you that we were very ashamed about the way that we qualified.

A former teammate of Thierry Henry at Arsenal, Petit said the legendary France forward never spoke about the incident.

“I tried to talk to him about it afterwards, but this is something he wants to avoid because he’s not proud of it. But I can understand what happened. He had a reflex on the pitch. He received a lot of pressure before the game and instinctively you do things you cannot control. But that’s not an excuse.”

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