Thierry Henry handles the ball in the build up to France's decisive goal
Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne said he felt "cheated" of a World Cup place after his team's 2-1 aggregate loss to France in Paris.
French striker Thierry Henry handled the ball in the build up to William Gallas's decisive extra-time goal earning a 1-1 draw on the night.
Dunne said: "Henry admitted afterwards he handled it, but it doesn't make me feel any better. We were cheated."
Henry added: "I will be honest it was a handball but I'm not the referee."
Remarkably, Henry sat down on the pitch with Dunne after the final whistle and said afterwards he admitted the handball to the Irish defender.
"I told Dunne," Henry said. "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."
The Barcelona striker clearly handled the ball to stop it going out of play and then prodded it across goal for Gallas to nod home in the 104th minute. That left Ireland little time to reply having taken an early lead through Robbie Keane's strike after 33 minutes.
Commentary of the moment Henry broke Irish hearts
Giovanni Trapattoni's side carved out a number of chances but survived an appeal for a France penalty when Nicolas Anelka appeared to be tripped by Irish keeper Shay Given.
The Swedish referee Martin Hansson denied the hosts but he, nor the linesman, spotted the Henry handball in a crowded penalty area.
"Fifa will probably be happy," added Dunne. "Yet again the big decisions have gone for the bigger team.
"There has to be a case for matches of this importance for a fourth official to look at replays and get the calls right."
Captain Robbie Keane told BBC Radio 5 live: "Henry nearly caught it, so it's a bit of a killer. When you see the reaction of the players, Shay especially, he's two yards away from it and you don't get a reaction like that if he's not sure it's a handball.
"He almost caught it and ran into the net with it.
"Henry is a top player and has been for a long time but it was a clear handball he dragged it in from going out. He nearly caught it. I wouldn't expect it from anyone."
Manager Trapattoni said it was sickening to go out of the World Cup in such a manner: "We are angry. It is a bitter evening for me.
"I would prefer to have gone out on penalties.
"The referee had time to ask the linesman and then after to ask Henry.
"It would not have been the first time a player would have asked and it would not have been out of turn.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.