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By Sam Lyon
1530: That, ladies and gentleman, is how you conduct a debate. Fantastic effort all round from you lot, with pretty much every angle, nook and cranny covered I reckon. For what it's worth, my money is on... not a great deal happening. No replay, no Henry punishment and no introduction of video technology. I'd like to be wrong on the latter, though, I must confess. Anyway, keep the chat going on
if you like, and stay across the website for all the breaking news for if/when Uefa and/or Fifa break cover. Don't forget, the 2012 World Cup draw is on 4 December. Odds on England drawing France? Spicy.
Boydy[CFC] on 606:
"I think the question should be asked that if it had been Robbie Keane or another Irish player who had done what Henry did , would Ireland be happy for the match to be played again? I wouldn't have thought so..."
Anon via text on 81111: "Make players wear gloves that make their hands glow red every time the ball touches them. It's the only way."
CramondFC17 on 606:
"The clamour to award the Irish a replay will however open up a whole can of worms. Do England get a second chance for Diego's Hand of God? Do Spurs get a replay for Pedro Mendes' 'goal' at Old Trafford? Do the Welsh get another go following Joe Jordan's handball at Anfield in 1977?"
Former France international Emmanuel Petit tells BBC Sport: "I don't think it will damage his reputation. Thierry has done so much in his career and this is a very rare indiscretion. It's similar to the situation with Zinedine Zidane - he's been sent off plenty of times... we always found an excuse for Zidane so why can't we find one for Thierry as well?"
Anon via text: "Earlier in the game, Robbie Keane blatantly used his arm to control the ball. If he'd scored as a result, Ireland would be through. He was caught, Henry wasn't. So Ireland just aren't as good at cheating as the French. Try harder next time."
il_postino2008 on 606:
"As horrible as it sounds, things like this are exactly what makes football so compelling. We need talking points in the game. Saturdays would become so boring without it!"
BBC Sport's Robbo Robson:
"Henry has the cheek to say 'I'll be honest, it was handball'. Honest? It's too flippin' late to be honest, son."
1455: So what now then? I guess that's the last remaining issue? Regardless of Thierry Henry's guilt, otherwise, or the French striker's legacy, few believe the equalising goal should have stood last night. So what now? Let it lie because, let's be honest, these things happen in football? Allow France to compete in the World Cup but ban Thierry Henry for a period? Order a replay? *Adopts annoying Geordie accent ala Big Brother* YOU decide. Except you don't. Sorry.
ViennaGas on 606:
"The only person(s) who can be held responsible for this travesty is the referee and his linesman. 'If the ref don't blow get on with the show'."
unclefredo on 606:
"Why don't the French Football Federation come out and offer a replay to Ireland? This would really put Fifa in the middle of it. If the FFF are so embarrassed by events last night (which they are I think), this shouldn't be an issue."
Jo via text on 81111: "As an Aussie who's still not over Grosso's blatant dive in the world cup, the Irish have my sympathy. How much longer will cheats from the so-called big nations be allowed to prosper?"
Francois Bayrou, a former candidate for the French presidency: "In an ideal world, the match should be played again. I saw the match and like a lot of people I wasn't very proud, and like everyone else I asked why don't we have a video match official. It works in rugby and it works very well."
Leading French politician, Philippe De Villiers: "Raymond Domenech should express his public regrets and show a gesture of dignity towards Ireland. The moral of this match is that you can cheat as long as you don't get caught. The France team is going to be labelled for years as a team of cheats."
1449: To be fair, it's not all bad news for Thierry Henry this morning. He's receiving a decent amount - though certainly not a majority - of backing if the missives headed my way are anything to judge it by, and he's also still got his advertising contract with Gillette. "Gillette are not placed to comment on any refereeing decisions made in the match... (and) this is not going to affect our relationship with Thierry Henry." No reaction to the incident yet from Roger Federer or Tiger Woods as far as I can tell, though.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty on Twitter:
"Trapattoni is very measured considering the bitterness he must feel. And he's right to say Ireland's injustice gives Fifa a chance to learn lessons."
BrightEyedBoy on 606:
"So this is football now? Cheat until you get caught? This is acceptable? That's not a sport worth watching."
Mike via text on 81111: "We see this every time. Dubious decisions are made and the clamour for more ref's, video technology, blah blah blah, am I the only one who actually enjoys the game's controversies and all!?!"
super_samir_nasri on 606:
"I'm torn on the situation. Yes Henry cheated, but I do not blame him for not stopping the game and admitting the handball. However, the way he celebrated after the goal gets me. He knew what he did, but still celebrated like that, and for me that's just not on."
1425: Giovanni Trapattoni might believe the chances of Fifa ordering a replay of the Republic of Ireland-France match are "impossible", but the ROI FA are nonetheless lodging an official complaint. A statement reads: "Conclusive video evidence of a deliberate hand ball by Thierry Henry, which led to France's additional time goal, has been seen by millions of football fans worldwide... now call on Fifa, as the world governing body for our sport, to organise for this match to be replayed.
englandbill40 on 606:
"If Mr Henry had admitted the offence at the time he would be revered the world over today. Instead he will be remembered as a cheat."
Trevor via text on 81111: "I used to play and watch a lot of footy, until dishillusionment and the cheats ruined my enjoyment. Now I play golf where honour is everything."
Right, the gist of The Trap's comments are as follows. He knows it is impossible that the game will be replayed. He wants Fifa to change the two-legged play-off format to two 90-minute games, without extra time. Football must use this incident to make sure these things can't happen in future by considering the use of video technology. He wants Fifa to explain the choice of the referee and the criteria by which he was chosen to officiate "a big, important match".
1408: Speak of the devil, here we go folks...
1407: We're still waiting for The Trap to make his news conference arrival. If you can't see the video on top of this page, give it a cheeky refresh. Nice one.
collie21 on 606:
"It might be interesting to note that in the world of sport there are people of integrity and honour, and they exist in football. I can remember Robbie Fowler and Paolo di Canio incidents to name but two."
David McGrayl, Edinburgh via text on 81111: "A strong case for the additional linesman at the penalty box to be used permanently, surely?"
Stephen Fottrell, BBC News with Irish fans in Paris: "Wherever we go, the French are looking at us in an apologetic, embarrassed way. People at the hotel, cabbies, waiters - they are all pleased to be at the World Cup but sorry for how it happened. We've had them coming up, shaking our hands and saying 'We are ashamed'. When you pick up the papers here, it's obvious - the French robbed Ireland."
Simon, Leighton Buzzard, via text on 81111: "I don't care what Dara O'Briain says - it IS karmic justice for Jedward!"
1350: Now then, with Giovanni Trapattoni due to address a news conference in around 10 minutes, why don't we all take a breather for five minutes? And do so in the knowledge that Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor claims to have made good on his promise to clean the team's boots after Wednesday's victory over Russia earned them a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. How nice.
Alanto, Harrow, via text on 81111: "Did people honestly expect Henry, in that very moment in time, to stop playing, put up his hand and apologise? If you ask yourself what you would have done in the same situation, you - and everybody else on this planet - would have played on. Unless your name is Pinocchio."
cowboymartin on 606:
"This very instance is why over the last few season I've maintained the stance that modern day football is ruined until they bring in video evidence for big decisions."
footballcasanova on 606:
"MOVE ON Mr. SAM LYON...stop this! There's no point asking for reactions - IT'S OBVIOUS what has happened - stop this forum! You are forcefully degrading one of the great talents of football. WHAT CAN HENRY DO? Whoever asked him whether he handled it - HE SAID YES. IT'S NOT HIS FAULT THAT THE REF DIDNT ASK HIM. END OF..."
Phil, Plymouth via text on 81111: "The beautiful game is looking very ugly today."
weallknow on 606:
"As an Irishman I am gutted about what happened BUT until we get better technology stuff like this is going to happen all the time."
Former Scottish Football Association referee Kenny Clark: "As long as players get away with this sort of thing, they will keep on doing it - and Fifa need to do something very strongly about this. No-one can say it was anything other than blatant cheating. If he had stood still and looked guilty, the referee might have thought there was something amiss. Instead of that, he led the celebrations, and he should be ashamed of himself."
Stephen Fottrell, BBC News with Irish fans in Paris: "We knew in the stadium something was wrong. There were no replays inside but there was such a protest from the players, something was up. Shay Given's such a gent, so for him to go mad it was obvious. Following the game, there was a bottleneck waiting to get into the station and the fans were just chanting 'cheat, cheat, cheat'. Everybody still went out and still really enjoyed the night but they were gutted, devastated."
1325: So, not only was there no mention of the Henry handball incident in the "story of the game" report on the Fifa website or any mention at all on the Uefa website, we're still left drumming our fingers waiting for a statement from either Fifa or Uefa on the incident. After the seedings row, this has not helped quell the conspiracy theorists.
Former England international Peter Reid on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I don't think some players will have been as quick to handle it as Thierry was last night - he's a terrific player, yes, but he's tainted his image no doubt. And no, I don't agree that every player would have done the same. Why can't we retrospectively punish Thierry Henry for cheating?"
redandblackT on 606:
"The outrage is hilarious! Someone is going to dive to win a penalty or free-kick in the Premier League this VERY weekend and we'll seek another 'sportsman's' professional demise!"
Former France international David Ginola on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm very embarrassed by the situation. I don't feel very proud to be French this morning. The Irish played very well and they deserved to go through as much as France, maybe more. I'm very surprised Fifa haven't mentioned anything about it - the whole world saw the handball. This is a pure injustice. Everyone in France, the press and everyone, says there should be a replay."
Anon via text on 81111: "Who can honestly say they would not of done the same as Henry to get their country to the World Cup?"
1301: Thierry Henry is not the only fella taking a bit of a shoeing this morning. Swedish referee Martin Hansson has been receiving all kinds of flak in his homeland, with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet's report reading: "We guarantee they the Irish fans feel pretty bad today, but I sincerely hope there are three Swedes that feel even worse. They are Martin Hansson and his assistants. There will be no World Cup for Ireland and I assume that Team Hansson has also forfeited it's right to continue to take charge of major international matches. Anything else would be a further insult to the Irish nation."
Buckyohaire on 606:
"This was an absolute injustice, a replay in a neutral venue is the only solution. And to those saying its incomparable to the Hand of God, please get real, he hit it TWICE. Fifa have once again let down one of the lesser teams."
Antwerp1 on 606:
"Can Henry's supporters drop the "after all, we're all cheats" defence. You may well be a cheat - don't project on to the rest of us. I feel sorry for the honest French players and supporters who know whatever they now achieve at the World Cup will be tainted. They've been cheated as much as anyone."
1250: On a lighter note, bookmakers are offering special markets on 'Le Hand of God' with the chance of the match being replayed rated a 33-1 long shot. Henry is 125-1 to score with his hand in the World Cup in South Africa, but just 7-2 that he personally apologises to the people of Ireland. And one leading Irish firm says it is refunding a total of more than £100,000 to punters who backed the Irish to make the finals in 2010.
Ricardo1873 on 606:
"McGeady cheats every week in the Scottish game. Drops like he's shot every time he's in or around the box. Had he done so last night and Ireland profited, would we have had the same outrage today?"
Hoki_Koki on 606:
"It's funny how a lot of truly great players manage to tarnish their reputations prior to retirement. Zidane 2006, Cantona karate, Maradonna's hand... The list goes on."
BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson: "Everyone knows Thierry Henry and everybody knows he is a nice fella but I'm sure he's absolutely and totally mortified. He has apologised and has said it was handball but I'm afraid he will be vilified in many different quarters by many different people. This will sully his reputation. You've got to live the rest of your life and you don't want to do that with people calling you 'Le Hand of God' or whatever it is they will come up with."
Anon via text on 81111: "Somebody needs to inject a bit of reality here. Neither in the magnitude of the game nor in what actually happened was this incident comparable to the Hand of God. The match will be forgotten outside of Ireland within five years, and Henry's legacy will not rest on one handball that to me looked accidental."
More from former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon: "If you look at the Maradona handball at the 1986 World Cup that was not an instinctive movement. That's a cheating movement and you kind of look at the second movement of Thierry's hand and say that's deliberate, that's the same as Maradona, he knew exactly what he was doing. From that point of view, you'd have to say it is out of character."
Top Irish blogger 20major:
"While everyone goes on about Henry handling it, did anyone count how many times Robbie Keane controlled the ball with his arm last night? Lots. And once late on in their box too. If he'd gotten away with it and scored how many people would be moaning about cheats today? The only difference is the referee saw Keane, he didn't see Henry, and you can see why he didn't see it. It was on the far side of the player, he didn't put his hand too far out, he got away with it. If the ref had seen it he would have given a free kick, end of story"
Simon via text on 81111: "Professional footballers cheat. I suspect even some Irish footballers have cheated in the past. It's happened, live with it, move on."
1230: At times like these, turn to those who know the man best. Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon has been talking to BBC Sport: "I played with Thierry for six years and he was as honest as the day is long. From listening to the radio this morning and reading the BBC website, there are a lot of Arsenal fans on there saying he's gone down in their estimations. It's really unfortunate, but he's put himself in that position by a moment of madness. He will be remembered for that and it's sad because he's been a truly great player."
GunnerFan243 on 606: "Henry is not a cheat. All those who want to call Henry a cheat may continue to do so, but always do a self check: if you are in a position where you have to shred your morality in trying to achieve big - what would you do? And would you admit the guilt immediately after doing it to the victims of your cheat acts?" Henry has done that. He has admitted it. If France and Ireland mutually agree for a rematch at Paris, lets have it."
theangrez on 606:
"I dont think Maradona cares that he's labelled a cheat and I dont think Henry will. For every Irish who hates Henry, there'll be a French who'll adore him. Easy to guess what matters more to Henry."
liongeorge01 on 606:
"Henry is a cheat, and a brazen one at that. This will be his legacy, quite sad really for him, but does he care?"
1220: By the way, here's point one in the Fifa Fair Play Code: "Play fair. Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly. Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure. Playing fair requires courage and character. It is also more satisfying. Fair play always has its reward, even when the game is lost. Playing fair earns respect, while cheating only brings shame. Remember: it is only a game. And games are pointless unless played fairly."
BIGSTEVECOOL on 606:
"Its sad watching such a great player resort to this. Since his legs have gone he has to find someway to gain an advantage."
1215: Now, I don't want you all to shout up at once, but I reckon this could be prompt a pretty emotional response (judging by the missives I've received so far). What has last night done for Thierry Henry's reputation? I always - begrudgingly, I must confess - admired his skills as a footballer and, for the most part (unless my memory is being selective) he always came across well during his time in the Premier League. But now? I say he will forever now be branded with the label "cheat", just as the great Diego Maradona is and was. Not because that's what I think he deserves, but because I think that's what will happen. Your thoughts?
samfiske on 606:
"If this game is forced to be replayed, then every time there is a mistake made by the referee in the future there will be demands for a replay. A ludicrous possibility."
Tim Connolly, Takeley, via text on 81111: "If the match is replayed I want the 1986 Hand of God game played again. Same teams!"
Irish Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has demanded Fifa be called to account in the interests of fair play. "They probably won't grant a replay as we are minnows in world football but let's put them on the spot,' the minister said. "It's the least we owe the thousands of devastated young fans around the country. Otherwise, if that result remains, it reinforces the view that if you cheat, you will win."
1205: How was the result/incident greeted in Ireland I hear, erm, about three of you cry? Well, the Irish Times described the incident as "Heartbreak of Henry's hand of God, part II," while the Irish Independent screamed: "Armed robbery", describing it as a "Massive injustice for boys in green as referee's howler sends French to South Africa". "The end had a larcenous feel," says its soccer columnist Vincent Hogan, "a French captain, literally with guilt on his hands. 'La Marseillaise' being sung by empty voices." "Daylight Robbery" says the Irish Examiner. Emotive stuff.
_Captain_Cabinets_ on 606:
"I think even a replay of the match would be unfair on Ireland. They should replay extra time and then penalties if it comes to that."
Andy, Edinburgh via text on 81111: "Calls for a rematch are way off mark. Are we going to replay a game every time a controversial decision impacts the result?"
Alan B via text on 81111: "In 2007, Henry scored the opening goal in the Champions League game v Rangers for Barcelona WITH HIS HAND!! Ref does not spot it, its a goal. Thems the rules. Move on."
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Liam Brady on BBC Radio 5 Live: "We would go to Paris and play again. It will not come to that but we would be willing to go to Paris, on their home ground, and have a fair winner.
I asked Thierry Henry after the game and he said 'I handled it but I didn't mean it'. When you look at the film I think he kept the ball in play and he meant it. I wouldn't go down the road of saying it was cheating, the players seek every advantage they can."
smurfsdabomb on 606:
"The French FA should offer a rematch in Paris to settle this issue and decide who truly deserves the place. President Sarkozy admits Ireland were cheated out of it, Henry admits it was a handball, there is no legitimate evidence to support a case for the goal not to be disallowed and no reason why a replay shouldn't be the fair option."
Rob via text on 81111: "As an Irish fan can I say thank you to the massive empathy from England fans on this issue. I will be supporting Capello's boys come summer 2010."
1145: The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will be addressing the media, by the way, at around 1400 BST - and one of the first questions sure to be fired in his direction will be whether he wants the match to be replayed. Overblown reaction of justifiable response do we think? It worked for
Arsenal and Sheffield United back in 1999 (from Arsenal.com)
James via text on 81111: "Ireland only have themselves to blame for not being in SA. They didn't take their chances. But Henry has no defence. He deliberately handballed it and celebrated after."
eoinsmith001 on 606:
"That's sport, that's life. It's just a shame for Henry the man that he defers to the referee, and Fifa. The handball happened, that happens all the time. The time for action was when he saw the goal being allowed. If he can't be a real man at the moment of truth, then he's weak, and a coward. The chance to do the right thing was right there; it was all down to him."
battylufc1974 on 606:
"In my opinion FIFA have to do something about this incident. The World Cup is the flagship tournament for the sport, it is an institution and a spectacle that can turn those that have never seen the game into fanatical followers. What does it say when a team can qualify in this way? It makes it a mockery."
1133: Not sure if it's consolation or not, but the Republic of Ireland are receiving more than their fair share of sympathy in France as well. French newspaper L'Equipe ran the headline "Hand of God", Le Monde "Blues relieved, Irish disgusted" and France's former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu told TF1: "We're going to go the World Cup, but we go to the locker-room with our heads bowed. It was not something to be proud of. I'm not going to party."
Gareth via text on 81111: "These incidents serve only to add to the feeling that football is becoming a sport where cheating is welcome."
Former official Graham Poll on BBC Radio 5 Live: "If we're going to punish Thierry Henry for the handball, we should punish Nicolas Anelka for the disgraceful dive that was an attempt to cheat and con the ref minutes earlier - that is equally as bad. The refs do their best but the players are good at cheating. Take that one incident away, (referee) Martin Hansson had a good game and I'm sure if he had seen the handball he would have given it. Sometimes match officials can't see things because of angles. I'm hoping Hansson makes the final 24 for the World Cup finals when selection is made and that his mistake will not count against him, but he will be worried today because he knows that the mistake happened on his watch."
dominiccm317 on 606:
"It's hard to defend Henry. He's always been a model pro but even he admitted it was a handball. Can't see anything changing so I hope for the Irish sake that they take heart from coming so close and get themselves into Euro 2012."
Wash-CARU FC (17) on 606:
"Some points need to be clarified here. A) Henry's handball did not stop Ireland going to the world cup- it denied them the opportunity to go to penalties. Yes, they may have won but they may not. B) The ref is not to blame here. If we all played the game fairly, the officials would only be needed to adjudge whether players were offside and such like. Unfortunately, we all don't..."
Republic of Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane on BBC Radio 5 Live: "We all saw it was handball. I asked Thierry about it straight after and he said "yes it was handball" but that he didn't mean it. But, I'm sorry, you look at it and he definitely moved his hand to the ball, you see how blatant it was. You can't see how the officials have missed it. At the end of the day, though, you can't blame him I guess - he's achieved what he wanted to achieve - but you can't point the finger at the officials. It's so hard to take in the circumstances that we've gone out."
draper4 on 606:
"It was definitely ball to hand. Henry has been an honest player all his life and would never cheat a team out of a place at the World Cup."
1110: In case you missed them, by the way, here a selection of the back page headlines from this morning. If you did not observe an injustice last night, you might want to look the other way. "Le Cheat" (Daily Express). "Le Hand of God" (The Sun). "Ireland robbed by cruel hand of Henry" (Guardian). French nickers (Mirror). "Hand of Henry shatters Ireland" (Times). "Hand of God II" (Daily Mail). "Hand Gaul!" (Independent). "Hand of Henry cheats Irish" (Telegraph). Ouch.
Y2J on 606:
"The fact that Henry is effectively saying "I handballed but the ref didn't do anything about it so therefore it's not really my fault" is shocking. It's still cheating! He's still a cheat!"
LarrySanders on 606:
"You can't blame the entire French Squad and fans simply because one of their players used his hand to control the ball. At best the player should face some form of punishment."
1100: Right, clearly there are approximately 479 issues to come out of this, so I will attempt to deal with them one by one over the course of the day. My first question surrounds the issue of guilt - was it a deliberate handball?
Here are Thierry Henry's thoughts: "I will be honest it was a handball but I'm not the referee. "I told (Richard) Dunne and he said the same to me, 'you're not the ref'. That's why the players did not come to me, that's why they went to the referee. You can clearly see the opportunity. Sebastien Squillaci went to jump for the ball with two Irish players and I'm behind him. The next thing I know the ball hit my hand, my arm even. It was right in front of me, I played it. The ref allowed it and that's a question you should ask him."
Tam via text on 81111: "People need to appreciate that it was a two-leg contest. Sure, Henry cheated, but can anyone really claim that over the course of the 2 games Ireland would justify qualification?"
mechcol on 606:"Ireland should replace France at the World Cup. Fifa need to up the ante and start punishing teams that are involved in cheating like this. I say kick them out though this will never happen again."
1045: For those of you who missed last night's controversy - erm, sort it out. However, here's a summary: Ireland, leading 1-0 on the night with the play-off 1-1 on aggregate and heading to penalties, concede a free-kick. It is floated in and, beyond the defence, Thierry Henry controls the ball - twice - with his hand, before squaring across to William Gallas to head home from close range. It meant France led 2-1 on aggregate and go through to the World Cup, Ireland do not. Cue a volcano of emotions.
The Irish kicked off at Le Stade de France on Wednesday trailing 1-0 from the first leg of their World Cup play-off against France, dominated for much of the ensuing 120-odd minutes, and yet will not be competing in next summer's Finals in South Africa
because of a blatant handball.
Need a forum for your outrage? A place to justify Thierry Henry's actions? Somewhere simply to cry? Look no further.
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