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Thierry Henry: Replay would be 'the fairest solution'

Thierry Henry has spoken of his embarrassment at the way in which France has qualified for the World Cup and believes that replaying the game would be "the fairest solution".

Henry's handball, in the build-up to the goal that secured France's qualification, has attracted criticism from around the world and has led to the Barcelona star being labeled a cheat.

Henry, who is the current captain of Les Bleus, said: "I have said at the time and I will say again that yes I handled the ball. I am not a cheat and never have been.

"It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.

"As a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow the pace of the ball down 100 times to be able to make a conscious decision.

"People are viewing a slow motion version of what happened and not what I or any other footballer faces in the game.

"If people look at it in full speed you will see that it was an instinctive reaction.

"It is impossible to be anything other than that. I have never denied that the ball was controlled with my hand. I told the Irish players, the referee and the media this after the game.

"Naturally I feel embarrassed at the way that we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.

"Of course the fairest solution would be to replay the game but it is not in my control.

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"There is little more I can do apart from admit that the ball had contact with my hand leading up to our equalising goal and I feel very sorry for the Irish."

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