Saturday 19 October 2019

Your emails about the Henry handball

Do you feel a grave injustice has been committed against Ireland? Should the match be replayed? Should Henry be banned?

E-mail us your thoughts

Reading through the e-mails here I see a few who claim that France should have been awarded a penalty in both games... to which I saw fair enough and win the game fairly on a penalty so be it.

But please do not use this claim to whitewash over the incredible injustice done not only to the Irish team but to football fans worldwide.

We are all being insulted by a governing body whose sole objective is to put on a money spinning show in SA rather that a fair and reflective competition.

Shame, shame on you FIFA. What’s done is done, there’s no reversing that but learn from it and stop treating the football fan like a clown.

Robert Hogan

Its a pity it ended like that but the Hysteria is amazing,how many Irish happy cheer Goals obtained from diving,simulation,call it what you will accross the water,No one can point the finger if they turned a blind eye to their Club Player Cheating,Ireland are out primarily because good chances were snatched at and wasted,Stop the nonsense and look at your own acceptence of disgraceful behaveour when it suits.


We in The Netherlands are also furious that the Irish got done by the French in this way, a replay is the least that can be organised by the FIFA in order to do justice !!!

We can fully understand that the boys in green are completeley sick of it and so the whole nation, as the WC soccer tournament is the highest platform one can reach in its carreer,

Hans J Mensink, Holland

I'm French and i'm not a Football fan but yesterday when i saw this "cheated goal" by the french team , i was ashamed .

Wining a football match like that ! shame shame shame .

That's why i prefer rugby ( i live in Toulouse) and the video control..

Everyone in Europe saw the Henry's ( god's) hand , and i think that Domenech saw it too , on the "Stade de France" giant screens.


I was at the Stade de France yesterday night, as a supporter of France.

I fully understand Irish frustration today. I am not sure if we can talk about any conspiracy against "smaller" countries, but it's sure that for football, it has been a sad evening.

France played very bad yesterday night. The only fault of Ireland, it's to not have killed the match although large possibilities to do it.

A fantastic French goal keeper and a referee decision has changed the final decision.

After the match nobody was fine: French knew that France didn't deserve the qualification, Irish felt stolen.

It was impossible to go and drink some beers all together, too much disapointment from both sides. Where is sport in that?

Of course we can claim that Henry should have said his handball. But honestly, who would have really done that?

It's not Henry's or referee's fault, but football fault. The football environment is today really nasty.

In other terms, as a French supporter today, of course I don't feel comfortable with the qualification, and have strong and deep thoughts to Irish players and Irish nation that we really love.

Sorry and be proud of your campaign, we would have really preferred another issue than the one got yesterday night. Please keep us as your friends.


The children of Ireland and perhaps France too were watching this match and what does it teach them? It teaches them that you can do the wrong thing and that you can be rewarded for it. Surely this is a message that we do not want passed onto the next generation after a similar ethos seems to have pervaded financial institutions through the current generation and has caused such trouble in the world today?

I also think that the referee & linemen should have some repercussions too. It is their job to see what is going on and it seems that everyone could see the handball, except them…

As I understand it, the French are calling it “a miracle” but our joint-neighbour, the British who were impartial observers, are very strong in their condemnation.

I always heard that soccer was a game played by gentlemen…is this how a gentleman would behave? This is a bad day for soccer and should result, at the very minimum, in the introduction of video evidence to all major matches in future.

Aine Maire Ui Chuirc

Of course a grave injustice has been done to Ireland, but that is sport. Referees make mistakes all the time, or they are just not in a position to see some foul play. However, in this particular case I think the gravest injustice has been done to the game of football itself.

Like the famous Zidane headbutting incident it is just such a bad example to the millions of young footballers of the future. Giving out a message that cheating pays, and especially leaving no recourse for correction is just plain wrong.

Football needs to move with the times and use the technology that is available. Rugby, Tennis and cricket all use technology to accurately reflect on what really happened and it only takes a few seconds. Football needs to move with the times.

The interests of FIFA to protect the participation of the big footballing countries could in the longer term damage football. Therefore they should take the steps necessary to protect the integrity of the game which last night took a beating.

Des Collins

I think that Henry controlled the ball with his hand more out of Instinct rather than malice. After watching the man in the premiership he is not known for cheating. I think that the blame lies at the feet of the referee and his assistants. Because it was blatant!

But I will say that if Ireland had of scored the winner in the same manner we'd accept that in all it's unattractive glory.


In my opinion,the final score was absolutely unfair.On the whole, the performance of Ireland football team was quite good.

I´m Spanish, and here the media are against Platini´s decision. It is said that the referee just has followed the leader,Platini.

Spaniards are in favour of Irish football team,and we are aware of these sort of things because that happened to us in the World cup of Germany.

It is not the first time that Platini commands this kind of decisions.

To sum up, the match must be played again.

Best wishes to Irish people

Nestor De La Torre Guzman

I´m writing from Ecuador. At least the game should be repeated on a neutral ground. Though Ireland deserves the clasification and should be clasified automatically. This is a very bad start for the World Cup. France should be banned from this and the next world cup in Brazil.

Volker Feser

I am Matteo, a 30 yo guy from Italy.

Yesterday i've watched Eire vs France instead of Itay match cause Trap is an Italian symbol in the world and also you'd probably knows the "hate" we have against French.

I support Fc INTER...Trap won in 1989 a super italian champioship with INTER...and Keane played in this equipe...two more reasons to watch the game...

i have no words for what DESERVE to be part of the next world cup...

Zidane 4 years ago in the final...Gallas scored the crucial gol after Henry hand touch...

you won't be on the next world cup...but french will be there as cheaters...

let's go Eire!

Trap will bring you very far away!

starting from yesterday you'll have one more friend: ITALY!


Well it doesn't come much crueller than yesterdays turn of events, does it?

Those Irish brave hearts -(so often so heavily criticised for their lacklustre performances)- bring the biggest & best performance of their lives out of the bag...and then get promptly "penalised & cheated" for same instead of picking up the laurels of their toil like other "big nations" would.

What a pity that we (Ireland) don't have a big foot balling name representing our interest's with the FIFA, because if Germany were objecting through Beckenbauer regarding their loss, or England through Bobby Charlton...they (FIFA) would be working on the re- match data at a neutral venue already!!!!

Come on ya’ boys in Green, you were absolutely magnificent & made me once again very proud of my Irish heritage during last nights performance!

Gary Ryan (Based out in Düsseldorf)

In a regular league match you have incidents where luck goes for or against you but tends to be balanced out over the course of a season such as the Liverpool vs. Sunderland beach ball incident. Here Liverpool have still 20 plus games for results to balance out.

For the Ireland vs. France match it was different. When you have so much riding on a match there is always going to be luck but intentional cheating is another matter. There was not just 3 points at stake. There was millions upon millions of Euro's up for grabs plus the highlight of any footballer's career, a chance to play in the World Cup Finals and to be pitted against the world's best.

Ireland was blatantly robbed not of the result as I think the roulette of penalties would have decided this play off for 2 well matched teams. We were robbed of a level playing field for the remainder of the time left. Almost feels like as if Tyson had gotten away with biting off Holyfield's ear and won the bout to boot.

This just does not sit well with me and the sad part is that it will stand. It will mean that Robbie Keane and co will instead of going to the World Cup be just a statistic and another reason for video to be used in the sport.


Who remembers the goal by Govou whistled off-side in the 2nd half? No, he was not offside! It should have been a valid goal for France.

Nobody is making a big deal of this. Indeed, qualifying this way is not great. France was terrible. But all this outcry is out of proportion.

How many injustices happened in the past and how many will occur in the future in football and other sports. France underwent so many injustices in the past: Semi-final 82 against Germany, qualifying match against Serbia and so many others...For once it goes in favor of France. It's not great! No question to rejoice!

May I attract your attention how the 2 sides reacted. British and Irish press is making a big deal of it, this is their speciality big title on trivial. What would have it been like if Ireland would have qualified this way.

Many Irish and English would have said: "It's harsh but it is life" or "Only the result counts in the end". Right or wrong ?!?

French are much more scrupulous in this situation and show they are not happy with the way it happened and tend to be low profile. So please dear sirs from British and Irish press, players and supporters look at yourselves before opening your mouths.

Stop claiming "Fair play" when you don't practice "Fair Play".

Still waiting for what this French defender said on the Irish people... real insults or is it made up?

Marco Lynch

Last February against Georgia we got a penalty that was blatantly unjust. We accepted it with glee. We therefore cannot complain or be outraged only when a referees decision goes against us

Ger Duggan

Like many of my compatriots, I am ashamed of what happenned yersterday.

Henry should have told the referee he had handled the ball. As he did not, the match should indeed be replayed - the French Football Federation should support the Irish one's request.

In a world where moral sense and ethical values slowly die, evicted by individualism and greed, this would be a strong proof that honor, fair-play and pride are not yet empty words.


It was terrible to watch. Ireland so deserved to go through. Henry shamed the whole game and destroyed some of the fun watching next summer's World Cup.

A new rule is needed, to be able to:

- ban players for cheating with malicious intent (two years, as for doping, seems reasonable)

- order a replay when a match or tournament result is likely to have been impacted by cheating with intent

If the French FA is honorable, it should request FIFA to allow a replay on neutral ground, starting from the result after 90 minutes at stade de France (1-1 agg.)

Marius M. Gisvold, Norway

Hi here, yet another Frenchman writing. Everything has been said so far as to who cheated and who did not. I hope the game is replayed because we'd be so ashamed to steal Ireland's place at the WC that way.

Hello to all my friends in Tuam, Co.Galway. I hate to see Ireland play against my home country !

Seb, Marseille

Millions, or billions of people watch football, an ocean of money runs around it.

We ALL see divers, cheaters, beaters on TV, but not the ones that are meant to referee the game.

They are blind and have to be left blind like in 1800, when the game was invented. If it wasn't patetic it would be tragic.

Sponsors should retire from football, people should turn off their tv sets until some sense of justice is restored around the game. No technology, no watching or paying, end of story.

Simone Chierchini

I am Portuguese and I was coming back from watch it Bosnia and Portugal, and I was happy of course! I crossed in front of the Irish Pub in Rotterdam and I could see from outside some screens and I saw Ireland beating France, 5 minutes left to end! Oh, nice, I want to see the extra time for sure, let's go inside and have a guiness!

Since the draw that I was supporting Ireland in this play-off, of course, coz they are one of the most amazing and pacific people in Europe and coz of France that is impossible any Portuguese football fan like it!

Is to much, is ashame for all football fans. ASHAME!!

I guess if we would repeat this game it would be something really big, but at least:

- repeating the time played after the goal of Henry, 0-1 for Ireland;

- this referee shoudn't be performing for a while and not present in the South Africa!

- the same for Henry, even if he admited, there is NO EXCUSE!!!

I'm with you IRISH PEOPLE!

Miguel Vicente

Have you ever seen an Irish football Player scoring after a fault and going to the referee saying to him:sorry you should refuse my goal because i have made a fault! That is quite stupid and you've never seen that even coming from your smart players.

The second remark is concerning the issue of the game.This goal certainly give the victory to France,but its cancellation wouldn't be enough for an Irish victory.

Rather than claiming against Henry, you should ask for a TV control like in rugby. France has many times been frustrated by wrong referee decisions,that is part of the game.

Georges from FRANCE

I am a Belgian soccer fan and watched the game in an Irish pub yesterday.

There is only one team who deserved to win and of course it was Ireland. I understand your feeling.

Even for a neutral fan it is hard to see how France got through.

They already had an advantage with the second drawing. Being in a pot with the four strong countries but they mis-calculated with Ireland. I hope the complaint of the FAI will have succes.

Bart Deckers

Clearly Henry was offside. Clearly he handled the ball. Twice. Clearly the goal should have been disallowed.

But can this derision of Thierry Henry please stop?

He only did what any player would do in the same situation: he reacted to control the ball however he could, albeit illegally. And was lucky enough to get away with it.

Robbie Keane used his arms multiple times during the game. Is he only not a cheat because he was caught? Surely the intention was the same?

Soccer is rife with 'cheating'. All that pushing and shoving at a corner, every jersey pull, every theatric dive. Surely its all the same, except perhaps that it does not have always get a result.

I see a lot of French people sympathise with Ireland. I wonder if it was the other way around would we be so generous of spirit?

Maybe if France had played very well the French might not feel they had robbed the result so much.

All fault here lies with FIFA and its strange reluctance not to use video refereeing.

It does not lie with Thierry Henry, who I would like to point out, took a fair hammering from Richard Dunne in the first leg in a very sporting fashion. We should expect more of the system and less of the players.

Ken Carroll

Henry made a big mistake yesterday. He cheated which is not in his habits.

I wish this match could be replayed in Paris. In this case i'm not sure Henry should play.

Anyway, i don't think Fifa make a decision so historical and certainly a bit idealistic.

Guillaume Dequick

I am Portuguese and more than anyone we know how referees behave when Portugal plays against France. It has been like that in European and World cups since the early 80's.

I watched the game and I think Rep. of Ireland was the best team on the pitch and certainly deserved the win and qualification. This game should be canceled and repeated, in my opinion.

FIFA is destroying football, at the point that I am not even feeling like watching the world cup on TV. I am tired of this!

Countries like Ireland and Portugal have to be much much better than France or Germany to be on the top of world football. This is disgusting and again I guess we should stop watching football once and for all.

Best wishes to all and congratulations to Ireland for virtually being qualified to the world cup


My name is Daniele and I am writing from Rome.

"I didn't see anything", Domenech.



As Scotland fans, we feel your pain - but in our case, the pain was self-inflicted (not being able to beat teams like Norway at Hampden); in yours, you were cheated out of the game, pure and simple.

I've emailed UEFA and FIFA to complain directly, because the whole incident has made a complete mockery of the 'Fair Play' initiative that they are so keen for players at all levels to embrace.

Thierry Henry - a player, incidentally, whom I usually love to watch - is disingenuous when he claims that he told the referee the ball had hit his hand (or, more accurately, when he stabbed at the ball twice in order to keep it in play).

He evidently didn't do it just after the goal was scored by Gallas, because he ran off and celebrated with his team-mates; he might have admitted to it after the match, but he knew full well that no remedial action would be taken.

All of this points in the direction of football finally coming into line with sports such as rugby and cricket - both universally played, but not nearly as popular worldwide - and allowing technology to be used in decision-making.

Until then, I urge all lovers of 'the beautiful game' to write to UEFA and FIFA and demand a replay at a neutral venue. It's the least that we all deserve - irrespective of our national colours - because otherwise the game really will have been sold down the river...

Linda Bates, Edinburgh

I am disgusted by this result and for the life of me I cannot figure out why FIFA refuses video replay.

They constantly preach "Fair Play" and then cheat Ireland out of a positive result. My heart aches for the Irish players and fans, they played their hearts out and deserved much better than this.

I'm very proud of our team and I couldn't agree with Keane more, FIFA wanted this result. What a disgrace!!

Kevin (Calgary, Canada)

It was a terrible decision but how any times have we seen this before, especially in big games.

It was not Henry’s fault; any Professional Footballer would have done the same thing.

However the problem is that the Referee nor the linesman saw it. If the ref had any sense, he would have taken note of the Irish players reactions, then gone an consulted with his linesman.

This is of course where technology should come in and the TMO would be consulted. I forgot, soccer is in the dark ages when it comes to technology and it’s disgraceful.

There’s no guarantee of course that if the goal had been disallowed that Ireland would have gone on to win the game. But they would have had a fair chance, and thats all people want when they play sport, a fair chance.

David Leahy

I don't believe that Henry should be banned - not at all. I would give the benefit of the doubt.

As others have pointed out, it's a flaw of the game. As Eamonn Dunphy so correctly stated, the Ref. should have asked Thierry Henry if he touched it or not. Then the video evidence could have been used retrospectively instead of the mess we are now in.

As Dunphy further correctly stated, the fate of the match at that level / the considerable monies spent by loyal fans who travelled should not hang on one or two men seeing something - or as in this case, not seeing something.

Anthony Halpin

Like all french fans, I did not celebrate the result last night (indeed the only celebration in the streets of Paris was that of Algerian people after they qualified too).

You Irish guys have been great, not only the 11 on the field but all of you supporting your team.

I hope you qualify for Euro 2012! If your strikers miss less opportunities than yesterday, you could make it!

But please don't blame Henry, Keane controlled the ball with the arm twice in the game, I don't call him a cheater for that. The difference Keane's two opportunities and Henry's is the referee's decision.

Let's hope MrPlatini (what is his nationality anyway?) will change his mind on this video thing!

Ssss Ffff

I have just emailed FIFA in their feedback on fixtures and results section about the Henry / Gallas goal, and told them there is too much cheating in soccer and I will point my kids towards better, fairer sports.

I also told them that our kids have the FIFA 09 game but would not be getting FIFA 10 unless there was a replay of the match.

We should all boycott and hit them in the pocket. I urge everyone who reads this to get onto the FIFA website and register their complaint ASAP

William, Mayo

Good Morning. Not so good for every sportsmen in the world.

Unfortunately, I am a frenchman.

There will be a missing in 2010 world cup : IRELAND.

We all have seen HENRY's handball : It's a shame, a disgrace for each french citizens, for non professional players and a robbery for IRELAND football team who deserved to qualify.

All we know. But in few weeks, it will be forgotten. It is unacceptable!!!!

Your boys have made their duty with an epic irish fight on the ground. You (JOURNALISTS) have to make noise in the world to change this unfair affair.

Because, French won't do anything to change these facts : We don't have a Arsene WENGER everywhere in France.

This shame is unsuportable.


Yes i think the match should be replayed. Henry should have admitted it immediately when he knew he did wrong. Thats not honest football. Ireland should be proud, they played brilliant. And Robbie Keane what can i say "what a great player".We'll come back.We can and will with our fantastic honest hard working Irish players.

Brid Murphy

I am French and was at the Stade France for the game.

At the very moment of the handball it was quite hard to see it clearly, because the action was very fast, and they don't show any replays on the giant screens, but still, the guy next to me saw it and we were like 100 metres away.

Today I feel ashamed and in a way frustrated by this situation. Believe me there was no celebration in the streets after the game. We all felt like thieves, and everyone got back home in silence. How coud we celebrate such an obvious cheat ?

I read in the Irish press : "We deserved to win" well, no, what you did deserve was to continue the game because at that time it was 1-1 on aggregate. This goal should have been cancelled and the game would have gone on until the penalty shootout, maybe or maybe not.

Well this was just to let you know that all the French are not cheering today. I would love to see FIFA decide to have this game replayed in Paris, this would be a great moment of sport, contrary to what I saw yesterday.

And I'm sure this time we would win... Come on Les Bleus


No. No and no to all your questions. Soccer is a game played by gurriers in big girls’ blouses. Gamesmanship, cheating and histrionics are part and parcel of this potentially watchable game.

The only cure (and the only thing that will make it watchable in my opinion) is a video referee. It will then be possible for the unfortunate referee on the field to re-make decisions viz... disallow cheat-goals, yellow card cheaters, divers and foulers. The current situation where referees yellow card misdemeanours and wave on professional fouls makes a nonsense of every game.

I notice also that referees seem to invariably penalise defenders outside the box but attackers inside the box thereby making it very difficult to score (though not last night, obviously!). A bigger goal might also help to get away from all those 0-0, 1-0 games we see so often and give us games with several goals, awarding shots at goal. Finally, that silly rule of allowing a player to “shepherd” over the goal line / side line with clearly no intention of playing the ball is a stupid rule and should provide frees to the player being shut out. You can probably guess I’m a rugby fan!

Liam in Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny

It is very refreshing to see so many French people write in and show solidarity with the Irish today. It is also humbling to note how so many French people completely agree that Henry cheated. Replay now!

Ian Walsh

I think that Ireland definitely deserved better. I'm so upset about what happened last night, i couldn't sleep!

From the video evidence i saw on television last night the linesman had a clear view of the infamous handball. . . .This is a huge injustice as Henry clearly handballed not once but TWICE!

Robbie keane handballed a number of times and France got a free, even if it did hit his shoulder, they got a free. . .

A video refree should be inplaced at this stage of soccer. The people of Ireland will fight back. . .

Maggie, Kerry

Thierry handed the ball perhaps accidentally. The ref , the assistant, and the fourth official did not see the incident. This means he did not hand the ball. FIFA can not make up special rules for the ROI. Football is full of controversial decisions. France played like a bunch of school girls, and ROI failed to take advantage of this. To much video ref will make the game boring just like cricket or golf. Stop whining boys and girls, there is no FIFA conspiracy.

Anyway I propose Thierry Henry for world footballer of the year 2009/2010.

Vive la France, Viva Norn Iron

David Bell

Where does this leave Ireland now. FAI are in dire financial straights as it is. This farcical decision will cost the FAI 20 million euro by not making it to SA. Once Trappatoni goes, where will that leave us financially for another coach.. nowhere.! It seems and we will be destined to go back to the managers of Steve Staunton and Mick McCarthy.

The game should be replayed, no doubts. The beautiful game is being destroyed and we all know it except the guys who can change it, I will not watch a World Cup match this summer, I am so disgusted. We played the French off the park and shame on you Henry. For such a class player, you have both sullied your country and your own reputation.

Kevin McGarry

Offside, handball and Henri agrees he's done wrong.C'mon Fifa, it's a no brainer!What are you waiting for...another plague? Apologise, have a replay and lets get us to the World Cup!

Marina Madigan, Calgary, Canada.

I thought the name of the game is soccer, not handball? The game of soccer must be replayed for sake of the game, and in the name of fair play.

Pat Kelliher

I really think the there is a need for change in football at this time. I really hope that everybody who reads this is standing up for this.

I think that football in this stage needs a video system like they use in rugby. No men is perfect so please let the fifa decide that this will never hapen again. So everybody stand up and let the referee make a good decision next time.

Remco van der Stelt -passionate football lover from the Netherlands

It's only an injustice if the referee or linesman saw it and ignored it. Having said that ,it is time for the screen replay as in rugby. There was so much at stake here that it is a shame.


The morning after, I'm so livid....I'm gutted and I'm proud french man. Worse, I've been living in Athlone for 6 years and now I have to go to work.....

Last night was a terrible moment for the FFF and for Thierry Henry. As an arsenal fan I think that lad is a legend but in 2 seconds, he tarnished his name forever. I know I know, these thing happen all the time but it doesn't make it any easier.

Truth is, now is the time to act and Thierry Henry should lead the fight for a better refeering sytem in FIFA. He should have the gut to come out, said that what he did isn't right and that something needs to be done, not in 2 years, NOW.

Launch a campaign to change the way the "beautiful game" is being played. Install video refeering, a honesty factor whatever, DO SOMETHING. All sports have adapted themself, why not football ?

Every french supporter wanted Les bleus to go to South Africa, but not like that. It is so wrong and terribly unfair.

Come on you boys in green, I hope you get your chance to fight back, and to beat us fair and square.

Anthony, Athlone

I am German and lived in Dublin for 4 years - so I feel very close to the boys in green and was crossing my fingers last night for Ireland to qualify. Shame on a respected player like Henry for taking such desparate measures. It is a disgrace for France, Fifa, and the whole football loving world - not to mention for Henry. I am not a huge fan of modernisation in the game (e.g. chip in ball, goal assistants etc.), but such game (and future) deciding decisions should be caught on TV for review.

My proposal: repeat the game, red-card Henry for lack of sportsmanship for at least 3 international games and use the chance to show France, why the fightin' Irish are what they are.

My proposal: repeat the game, red-card Henry for lack of sportsmanship for at least 3 international games and use the chance to show France, why the fightin' Irish are what they are.

Thilo, Germany

Come on, if it was the other way we would not say a word about it.

It's part of the game. Why not replay the home leg also as Evra should have had an penalty.


Henry must be supended, and so the Ref too! I'm an italian supporter, and I still remember the 2002 World Cup! Trapattoni is the best, everyone loves him but Refs!

P.S. This Ireland is a fantastic team, so be proud of it!

Best regards


I am distraught for Ireland, I was watching the game in London and I am proud of Irish team, they are collectively solid and committed, far from what the French showed over the 2 legs. I never thought I’d hear Henry and Maradonna in the same sentence for cheating!!

Richie from London

I am from El Salvador a little country in Central America, but I grew up in the US. I live in Seville, Spain now and I have many Irish friends here. We watched the game together.

I can’t believe that FIFA will let this go this way. Ireland is and in history will always be the best team. How can you go to a World Cup knowing that you got there by cheating. I am so angry at this that I want to sell my Citroen.


I am Sebastien and I am French.

I just wanted to tell you that I am not really proud how we’ve been qualified, and it’s the same feeling for most of French today. I fell really sorry for all Irish people. I am sure, you’re deserved to go to South Africa.

But I think, you can’t blame the fault on Henry, I am pretty sure that most of the players would do the same thing. It’s just that how the referee did not see that? That’s crazy! Why the referee did not ask to Henry just after the goal?

Anyway, you have great team. I feel a bit guilty, I demonstrate respect for Irish people.


I am a French rugby player and I used to play in Scotland too. I wanted to told you that I am deeply ashamed the way France got its ticket for the WC.

During the game Irish men were as they usually are on a pitch, very brave, fighting, sometimes brutal, but we may say they played within the rule.

On the opposite the French with all their great players offered the fans a very poor presentation as if they were totally frozen by the stakes unless the game was just the reflection of their poor level these times.

Without an amazing Lloris Ireland would probably have won before extra-time.

Back to the cheating question I think it is impossible to ask to replay the game, stakes are too huge and for the old Board lads or FIFA officials Fair play is just a word you write on a banner every four years. History is full of games where the winner did not deserve to win and I think every nation has his own.

My point of view is we should ban cheaters for a few months each time they cheat it will clean this game. Because let's face it in France ( I dont know if it is the case in Ireland) every single U-11 coach teaches his players about cheating, of course you do not name it cheating it is more like being smart, sneaky or having some "vice". It starts with diving and ends with these hand goals. Every time a French team wins thanks to that kind of action we celebrate "la malicee" when it is just cheating.

Booking cheaters, divers even after the game with very long ban is the only way to clean this sport, because in Fair play did not exist on the pitch, in 30 years the only moments I can remember is Robbie Fowler saying the ref should not grant him a penalty and Wenger offering his opponents to replay the game, that is very few in many years


Of course it’s a grave injustice, but is not an exception in the long history of ref’s mistakes

It’s the illustration that we need more ref or help of the video because even i’m happy to see my country in South Africa, we have the possibility to stop these kind of faults and to go to the world cup in this condition is not very proud and honest but this is the law of ref !!!

Love to our sister nation, see you very soon Ireland


I live in Germany and went to the German website of FIFA this morning. Many Germans had made a comment regarding the match report (which mentioned nothing of the incident by the way) to say that this result should not stand as it is.

When I went back to see if more had commented FIFAhad removed the comments and also the function to leave any further comments. What type of an organisation is this?

FIFA's message seems to be “as long as you don’t get caught your actions are ok”. Where is the integrity? Where are the role models? What is FIFA trying to tell us with allowing this behaviour?


Ireland should be given a chance.

Major error on the Ref's side to allow it.

Ireland should demand a re-match and Thierry Henry should not be allowed play it.


I'm French and like the majority of the people here, I'm not happy with the way French team handled this match and I understand Irish people' bitterness with Henry's fault - but I could also argue about the penalty we didn't get, but I won't.

However, at that stage of the match even if Henry's fault had been hissed, Ireland was not leading and still not qualified.

Nobody knows what would have been the conclusion of this match.

As to Dunne's "We deserved to win the game, we could have scored a couple of more goals", Ireland had plenty of times to score them, but didn't.

As to the supposed FIFA's conspiracy to influence referees in favor of the French team, I don't buy it at all. It's a nonsense.


Of course they can’t replay the game. If they give in to us, FIFA will be inundated with calls for replays every week.

However, if we get anything out of this, it is that video refereeing NEEDS to be introduced at the top-level. Hopefully our agony will at least contribute to that.


"Who dares win" they say. Well it looks it's not always the case. I am a French supporter but Ireland was flamboyant and truly demonstrated the fighting spirit and almost every french woke up with a bad taste in the mouth and a hang over. Victory has a bitter taste.

Thierry Henry should not be blamed so much. FIFA, on the other hand, refuse to introduce video and should be blamed. It is working great in rugby, why couldn't it work in football? It would avoid so many frustations and cheating.

A sad and sorry French supporter.

Loïc Thumerel

As an Irish fan this morning, I am gutted at this travesty.

But more important than my upset is the FAI's response as the governing body of Irish football. As an Irishman i implore them to take swift and stern action against Fifa. Here is what i suggest they do:

Issue a statement on behalf of our players and supporters to the general press and Fifa to inform them that until something is done to right this wrong, the Republic of Ireland football team will henceforth withdraw from all international competition until justice is done and the game is replayed.

We demand stern action from our governing body to be seen to do the right thing.

Joe, Carlow

I have read the so called official FIFA report and they do not care to mention the match changing moment at all. I also sent FIFA a comment (which I would recommend all Irish fans to do even though it will be filtered and shipped into the “Disgruntled Irish Fans” folder never to be seen again).


In years to come Henry's name will be tarnished like Maradona's. Only he can salvage his reputation by coming clean now and removing himself from the finals in South Africa. FIFA will not do anything decisive but feel free to contact them via

Brendan Daniels

It's a shame, a great scandal, an incredible injustice.

I even can't believe it. It might be possible in such occasions to correct the decision of the referee! It's unbelievable that the referee didn't notice Thierry Henry's handball!!

There's no doubt about: Ireland was the better team . Bravo Eire!

I'm German with strong sympathies for German, French and Portuguese football teams.

Michael Schmidt

I'm French, I love football, I love the French team but, I can't be proud how come we won the match .

But you, you can be proud of your players, they gave all they could give.


We're French and of course we can't stop talking about it this morning. We so agree with the irish that the qualification was cheated from the irish team.

The goal never should have been validated and the game should have ended with the penalties.

We want to be supportive with Ireland and FIFA organisation should seriously think about TV referee and why not replay the game ?

About Henry himself, I think he feels ashamed but can we really blame him on what he said ? He admits it and the officials should then take their responsabilities.

Anyway, Ireland did deserve to go in South Africa and I am sure France will be thinking of it every minute in June.

Laetitia, Tamara, Isma, Tiphaine and Alhame ( France and Ireland fans ).

So what? Just imagine one of your players in the same situation..

And you seem to have a short memory. A penalty forgotten for the French team in Dublin and another one last evening! Kick and rush: the best way to lose a match : you were better but Trap made the wrong choices.

Disgrace, dishonour...that's just football guys.


I am totally devastated by the match last night. He should have held his hand up told the ref that it was a hand ball.


I am a Frenchman living in Ireland (getting a lot of stick since last night!).

I feel really sorry for the Irish team and Irish people. A qualification would have given a bit of sun in this very dull Irish climate at the moment.

Ireland was robbed last night and should have gone to the penalties (which doesn't mean they would have won though).

Ireland was outstanding last night (the best I have seen them for a long time) and the French didn't turn up really and played as if they had everything to lose, dragging this Croke Park goal like a heavy weight at their feet.

Overall, over the 2 legs, Ireland would deserve more than the French to go to South Africa.

It is another refereeing mistake (remember the way England won the world cup in 66, Argentina in 86, Germany against the French in semi-finale in 82...).

The same story repeats itself week in week out. How many premierships would have Man United won recently without refereeing mistakes (or help should I say) ? Remember this 7mn extra time given recently!

It is about time to implement the video in this game and punish the cheats heavily! But then, there would be no Ronaldo, no Rooney, no Drogba... and surely no Italian team in this South African world cup!

The video works in rugby and other sports. It would work for football the same way.

I would have rather lost last night than won with a clear handball!

I hope Ireland will forgive France. They should be upset against the FIFA and the refs on the night and not the French as the match was played in a very fair manner beside this very late twist.


I am French myself and love football but i must say that after last night game I will never watch a football game again.

This is an insult to the sport fans, FIFA is turning this great sport into a sad joke.

France have produced great players but there is no dignity in their behavior.

Millions of kids are getting the wrong message. To make a mistake is human but some humans are becoming a mistake.

I am sure that ireland will keep its fighting spirit up which is the most important fact after this pathetic charade.

I'll do my best to become a rugby fan now.


I'm devastated for the heroic Irish team.To be beaten by an equaliser would have been a travesty, but to be beaten by a cheating Henry is the lowest point .

The Irish can hold their heads high, the French can hang their heads in shame.

Fran Mc Loughlin

It's disgusting and FIFA should be sending out a message to the younger children who look at these things, what lesson have they learned now, that it's ok to cheat as long as you want something badly enough?


Hello there from France,

when you love soccer, it is very hard to enjoy the result of what happened yesterday . Just a few thoughts though.

No discussion, Ireland definitely deserved to win yesterday's game, thanks to Trap's genius in understanding what made last Saturday's game in favor of France.

But, we all know these mistakes happen in football, like a few minutes before the infamous goal, the Irish keeper obviously touched Anelka's foot... what if he had whistled a penalty kick at that minute ?

They have solved this issue in Rugby with the video referee and I personnally do not feel it slows the game. With video there would have been a penalty kick for france, no goal and a red card for Henry for cheating.

How can a sport with so much passion and financial interrests so much rely on the wrong decisions of a referee. I am really wondering and not really proud of the way all this happened , even the satisfaction of being qualified for the world cup has a real strange taste.


Henry should not be banned. But if the match can be replayed, it's better. Whatever we try to do now, it's too late.

Henry now is considered as a cheater but for me it remains a great player. This kind of thing can happen to everyone.

As a man who likes sport, today I am not proud. But we cannot say that Henry is a cheater.

Jonny Michel

Well, what can I say....devastation, injustice, unfair.....the list is endless but what's even more frustrating is the DECISION stands...not even a replay? And FIFA claim to promote Fair Play? It's not as if there is a hint of any doubt? Crystal clear for all to see, not ONE offence but THREE... an off-side, and two handballs....

Then to add insult to injury, the player admits and yet the RESULT STILL STANDS.....and ye call this SPORT...

Really, should Ireland ever bother contending for any major tournament ever again. They don't deserve us......and South Africa will be one hell of a damp squid...


So Henry admits the handball but still manages to blame the ref for not seeing him cheat, that makes it all better then. Henry is typical of the modern footballer, it is not cheating it's being professional, because the authorities won't punish them so it must be alright to do it....Ireland hold no power, so nothing will be done about it.

Mick, Liverpool

I'm from Spain.

Europe watched yesterday an unfair action and everybody is angry for that

Fight for your right to be in South Africa!


Commenting about the return game Ireland-France in Paris, there was hand for sure. I saw it from a clear room with lights and the camera showed it many times on the Irish channel.. In the case the referees did not do their jobs.

The match should be replayed, that's all.


While us Irish fans will feel particularly aggrieved, there is a wider picture. When a highly successful and famous player can cheat and get away with it, what kind of message does that send to young kids learning to play the game today.

FIFA's blind pursuit of financial goals has tarnished the image of international football. Though upset, the Irish players can continue with clear consciences; can others say the same?

John Meehan

Of course there should be a rematch. But I don't believe we will get one.

We need all other teams who qualified correctly to go out on strike with us and block any further games until this is sorted.

Any chance of that ? I don't think so. Any other ideas?

John Weldon

While the result is not in doubt now, Blatter and Platini need to make a statement to condemn the deliberate cheating, otherwise they cannot preach about fair play anymore.

...The whole world saw what Henry did deliberately last night. How many kids will try and copy that, if they see that nobody in FIFA comes out and makes a statement?

If a serious offence happens in a game, that is not seen by the ref, video evidence is used later to give a player a suspension. Last night, Henry brought the game into disrepute and video evidence proves this, so what not give him a ban for bringing the game into disrepute!

1. FIFA to make a statement condeming the deliberate handball.

2. Henry to be charged with bring the game into disrepute.


The honest Ireland team should demand a replay, France didn't need the injured Ribery, instead they injured us badly with Rob-bery, the only way France will get a hand on the World Cup is with Henry .


The result is just a shame. It's a scandal. I already did mail my opinion to FIFA.

This result has to be corrected. There has to be a decision by penalties.

Best regards from Austria

Helmuth Thöny

I am French and of course French team supporter, but I ashamed of this "victory"! We love you!


We may hand that down to him : Henry's handy enough don't you think? what a slap on his wrist, all the same!

Can we really say that France won, hands down? Well, I must hand over for now,

Michael O'Boyle

As a lifelong supporter of football, "The Beautiful Game", I find it hard to express how sickened I feel by what happened last night.

I was already so disillusioned and disheartened by FIFA's moving of the goalposts in terms of seeding the play-offs but, if we'd lost fair and square last night, it would have been a bitter pill to swallow, but at least one could accept the best team got through...

As it is, to lose because of one of the most blatant handballs I've ever seen (up there with the "Hand of God", definitely) and when Ireland were far and away the better team on the night, is just sickening beyond belief.

I appreciate that Ireland are a tiny voice in world football but I REALLY hope that the FAI don't take this lying down and make an official complaint. In this regard, I think a petition of diapproval/complaint should be set up because FIFA might pay attention if huge numbers were to sign such a petition especially if it's international and I think it would get a lot of support from all the smaller footballing nations as well.

Unfortunately, I don't see this result being overturned or the match being replayed (though it SHOULD be), but we should try to do our best to ensure that this doesn't happen again and, also, that video refereeing is introduced in the future...

Well done Ireland, Trappatoni and the whole managerial team - you did us proud!

Catherine O'Dowd

I feel sick and violated as a true sport fan, there is no justice.

FIFA have got what they wanted, little old Ireland will just have sit back, take it on the chin and move on.

Let's not forget what was a special performance from the Irish team, outstanding to a man.


A disgraceful injustice to Ireland last night.

Let's see the FAI showing the same fighting spirit that the Irish Team showed last night and not take this lying down. I'd like to see them take FIFA to Court for loss of revenue due to mismanagement; why on earth isn't technology used in the same way that it is in tennis and rugby? You'll hear the argument that it'll slow down the game. Rubbish! There is more time wasted by players rolling around the floor feigning injury, which wouldn't happen if the they knew their actions were under the microscope.

Is it beyond the realms of impossibility that FIFA recognise that a severe injustice has been made add Ireland as an extra team to the World Cup in South Africa?

What action will FIFA take against Thierry Henry for ungentlemanly conduct? A two year ban starting from next week on representing his Country should suffice!




A lot of Frenchmen who saw the game are loudly expressing their disgust this morning with the unsportsman-like conduct of ‘l’Equipe de France’!

What seems to come around again and again is the idea of “...not being proud to be French after such cheating...”!


I live in France and I am so sorry for Ireland.

Today I am shamed to be French citizen.


I am a French man, working in Ireland for more than 7 years for a big company in a french department, so surrounded by 12 other french people….

People usually think that French people are arrogant, not humble…it's often true but I must tell you that today, not one of us is proud, we are all gutted by yesterday’s game…some of us might be relieved but most of us are sharing the same feeling : the Irish team deserved to win, they should have and they must be proud of what they did…I was myself supporting them in the last minutes of this game..

Go on greens, you were great and you made me proud of being a citizen of this country……

A sad French supporter

I'm very sorry about this stolen game. I was at the game yesterday. Despite I'm french and a big fan of our national team and Thierry Henry, it's a shame to fly south africa by this way. Irish team, fans, fair and respectful as usual should be qualified.

Sorry again. france with a small "f" is qualified but indeed Ireland with a big "I" is the winner... sorry again !


I think that yesterday was a sad day for soccer - a sad day for sport in general and a very sad day for FIFA.

FIFA is supposed to be a noble organisation promoting fair play but the truth is abundantly clear - all that matters is the lure of the Euro.

France disgracefully and unashamedly cheated to win through to the World cup finals; I know this, every French player knows this, Every Irish player knows this, every man, woman and child knows this - FIFA KNOW THIS. Yet, what will they do about it? Nothing.

Fair play? Liberté? Egalité? Fraternité What about Integrity? Hang your heads in shame - you have disappointed real fans all over the world.

Justin Healy

I’m French and I am not very proud of my team’s performance. I think that if we look at the 2 matches Ireland should go to South Africa.

However some of key players were missing in the French team and I am pretty sure we will have a very (and more) competitive team in June.

Ireland can be proud of their national team.


Firstly in the ideal world the match should be replayed, but that will never happen now as the ref's bad deed has been done.

Yes Henry should be banned as he blatantly handled the ball TWICE.

And finally we cannot complain too much really as we had lots of chances to finish them off all game, FACT.

Keith, Navan

Just wanted to tell you how ashamed I’m about it all ! We have stolen the participation to the World Cup away from you, and I shall not watch any of the games next year, in solidarity with Ireland.

Thierry Henry should have told the referee. I hate cheaters!! Ireland was the best team last night.

God bless you all.

Hélène BOURQUIN, From Paris

I think it’s funny that in F1 or any motorsport, in horse racing, etc, if anything was seen and then proven to be unethical or rule-breaking then there would be an investigation and the decision would be overruled or overturned.

Why are the rules different with this game where it’s ok even if you are caught?

Paul Gillen

Disgraceful. The biggest game in the World is the last to embrace technology that can prevent atrocities such as this.

It would have taken 20 milliseconds to rule to goal invalid. And to cap it off it was offside anyway.


The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport