France 1-1 Ireland agg:(null-1)
There have been many big moments in 2009, but none as big as this. In extra time the ball was going out of play towards the left of the net, Thierry Henry was not going to get it unless he hand balled it, so he did exactly that. The most upsetting part of that was when his handball enabled him to pass the ball to William Gallas who headed it in. That cheat cost Ireland a place in the World Cup!
France started on top in Paris with Nicolas Anelka having their best chance, but Sean St. Ledger was their to block it. Ireland’s tactics seemed to be working andthey were rewarded with a goal after a stunning move, after a few passes around the centre circle the ball came to Damien Duff who played a neat ball to Kevin Kilbane whose long ball came to Duff again and he passed to Robbie Keane who finished superbly to give Ireland the advantage, a wonderful team move by the Irish. The rest of the half was dull apart from a Glenn Whelan shot which was deflected over the bar by Patrice Evra.
Ireland started the 2nd half in the manner in which they started the 1st. Two minutes after the restart John O’Shea was un-marked but his poor shot went over. Two one-on-ones came after that, Damien Duff tried to round the keeper but Hugo Lloris made the vital safe. Not long after Robbie Keane went in on goal but he did what Duff tried to do and failed as well. France had two clear chances falling to Yoann Gourcuff and Nicolas Anelka with both failing to put France on level terms.
With only minutes remaining Robbie Keane saw his shot just go over the bar. That would be the last chance before referee Martin Hansson blew to signal an extra 30 minutes.
Nicolas Anelka’s clear dive 8 minutes into extra time was ignored by Hansson who up to the Henry incident had a superb game.
Then it happened! A free-kick went in to Thierry Henry and he handballed it to Gallas who headed it home. On TV replays it showed that Hansson could not have seen Henry handball it but his linesman could of! The final whistle went and as France celebrated Ireland just knew that nothing would be done to France and they would not be playing in South Africa next summer.
After the game France goal scorer William Gallas said “It went so fast. I saw Thierry’s pass, the Irish were surprised and I just put my head in and the ball went in.”
Ireland appealed for a replay after the game, Thierry Henry even agrees it would be a fair solution, but we all know what FIFA are like. Nothing will be done so lets just hope France get stuffed at next years World Cup!
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