The story appears on

Page B16

November 21, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Keane blames Irish defense as Henry backs calls for a replay

FORMER Ireland captain Roy Keane blamed Ireland's defenders and goalkeeper rather than Thierry Henry for the controversial goal which ended its World Cup hopes.

France captain Henry has admitted he handled the ball in an incident on Wednesday which enabled France to qualify for next year's World Cup at the expense of Ireland.

Keane, now manager of Championship (second division) Ipswich Town, told a televised news conference that "France were there for the taking and Ireland didn't do it. "Same old story. They can complain all they want but France are going to the World Cup. Get over it.

"If I'd been there in the dressing room after the game, I wouldn't be talking about the handball. I'd focus on why the defenders didn't clear it. They should've cleared it.

"I'd be more annoyed with my defenders and my goalkeeper than Thierry Henry. How can you let the ball bounce in your six-yard box? How can you let Thierry Henry get goal-side of you? If the ball goes into the six-yard box, where the hell is my goalkeeper? These are skills and lessons you learn as a schoolboy.

"Ireland had their chances in the two games and they never took them but it's the usual FAI (Football Association of Ireland) reaction -- 'we've been robbed, the honesty of the game...' It's rubbish."

Keane has never seen eye to eye with Irish soccer officialdom and walked out of the squad on the eve of the 2002 World Cup over his frustration at what he considered sub-standard preparations.

The former Manchester United midfielder also pointed out that Ireland had benefitted from a controversial penalty in its favor in a 2-1 qualifying win over Georgia.

"It was one of the worst decisions I've ever seen which changed the whole course of the game," he said.

"I don't remember the FAI after the game saying we should give them a replay."

Meanwhile, soccer's world governing body FIFA has confirmed that the controversial playoff match will not be replayed.

"FIFA has replied to the request made by the FAI to replay the World Cup playoff match between France and the Republic of Ireland," the body said on its Website yesterday.

"In the reply, FIFA states that the result of the match cannot be changed and the match cannot be replayed. As is clearly mentioned in the Laws of the Game, during matches, decisions are taken by the referee and these decisions are final."

But the man at the center of the row said a replay would be "the fairest solution".

"It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area," Henry said in a statement yesterday.

"I have never denied that the ball was controlled with my hand. I told the Irish players, the referee and the media this after the game. Naturally I feel embarrassed at the way that we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.

"Of course the fairest solution would be to replay the game, but it is not in my control. There is little more I can do apart from admit that the ball had contact with my hand leading up to our equalizing goal and I feel very sorry for the Irish."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend