Thursday, 19 November 2009


Thierry Henry, take a bow son. In the space of four days you have just managed to de-throne Lassana Diarra as public enemy "numéro un" among the followers of the Republic of Ireland football team.

The Frenchman's technique to first control the ball with his arm then maneuver his hand to neatly cushion it into his path to set-up his team’s winning goal was sublime. In fact it should earn him a call up to the senior panel at Down GAA. They could do with talent such as that in their ranks.

In all seriousness though, ROI can quite rightly feel hard-done by. This was their best performance in the World Cup Qualifiers to date. They certainly saved their best ‘til last. Robbie Keane was a Trojan all night long. He was a real pain in the "derrière" for the French. The only time he stopped running was to compose himself for a fine finish to give the Republic the 1-0 victory over the 90 minutes.

In contrast, ‘Les Bleus’ were brutal. Chelsea striker Nickolas Anelka looked to be their only threat playing out of position on the left wing. The manager of France should quit while he’s ahead. I’m no expert on the French national team but leaving Benzema, Govou and Malouda out of the starting line-up? That was scandalous.

Not as scandalous as what was to occur in extra-time though. After much complaining that Anelka should have been awarded a penalty for a clear ‘dive’, and the numerous French off-sides which would you believe, were actually off-side, France were beginning to lose their cool. Yet another hopeful/hopeless (delete as appropriate) long ball punted forward which looked to be going out for a goal-kick. But step forward world superstar Thierry Henry, who would turn the tie on its head with one of the most blatant acts of cheating you will ever see in football. His resulting pass set-up William Gallas who would put an end to any plans the Irish had of topping up their tans in South Africa next summer.

While I was disgusted with what happened to the Republic of Ireland, I find it hilarious the calls being made for the match to be replayed. Are you serious Dermot? So, every time there is a controversial decision in a football match (which is every game in the EPL) the match should be automatically replayed. If that were the case then individual seasons might need to be prolonged by about ten years in order to get the fixtures completed.

It has only been 12 hours since that treacherous act took place in Stade de France and already I'm fed up with the constant moans about how 'unfair' it was to lose.  Let’s not lose sight of the fact that over the two legs France scored two goals in total, and the Irish scored one. The Henry hand-ball was bad but it’s not the first time a legend of the game has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. ‘The Hand of God’ in the 1986 World Cup where Maradona scored with his hand against England to send them packing is just one example of teams being ‘screwed’ out of football matches.

It was an event that didn't gain a lot of sympathy from this island though. The whole place sold out of Argentina shirts that summer.

You reap what you sow.

PS: Trappatoni and co. should have seen something like this coming a mile off if he had of tuned into the Olympic's last year!


  1. Good points.
    Personally I think it's time FIFA introduced some kind of video referee. If they can do it in rugby why not?
    It's true everyone has been giving out yards all day, yet all the same people still laugh about the 'hand of God'. Or did until yesterday.

  2. I'm 50/50 on the whole video technology debate. If rules are changed like that at the top end of football it will have to apply to lower level football. The LOI are strugging enough financially. It could also ruin football as a general spectacle. Imagine a controversial decision being made every 5 minutes of a game. People would switch off. As a football player myself, breaks in play take away from the tempo of what is an extremely fast paced sport. Just a thought...

  3. Yeah Hammy,

    It's expensive for smaller leagues, but maybe as a trial in internationals. I was thinking of a system whereby each team gets two or three chances a game to call for a video review of a decision (after the ball goes dead).
    I am not too bothered about last night but the word 'fix' has come into my mind about several football matches in recent years.


  4. Don't think like that you'll end up paranoid like most ROI fans are feeling today. The only fixing that was done on FIFA's part was moving the goalposts which resulted in FRA vs ROI. It almost backfired on them.

    Of course in hindsight, ROI drawing France was a good thing as forced the players to raise their game. I think you would have struggled against say, Greece, or even Slovenia! Both of whom qualified. It would have been harder for the Irish players to raise their game against such unknown quantities

  5. True Hammy,
    I don't believe last night was a fix and yes, I think ROI did raise their game.
    Personally I never liked Trapatonis style and won a few quid betting against Ireland in Croke Park, to my friends disgust.
    I have a bit on France to win the WC since before the first leg so I am not surprised or overly sad or anything.
    My only bet last night was €1 on Dunne to score first as I felt Ireland would fight like tigers and anything could happen.
    None of my mates on facebook are talking to me because I backed France to go thru and reminded them of the hand of God straight after the final whistle, cause I knew they would all be bitching, which they are.
    It's a professional sport yet you would think they were children the way they are moaning. A a Newcastle Fan, I am well used to disappointment in football. (What does it feel like to win something?)



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