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Ireland wants cheating France to agree to a soccer do-over. What is this, fifth grade?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Soccer Updated: November 19, 2009 - 11:09 AM

From the AP:

Ireland appealed to France and soccer authorities Thursday to replay their World Cup playoff in Paris after an obvious handball by Thierry Henry produced the winning goal. Ireland's government and opposition leaders united in demands for Wednesday's 1-1 draw in France to be replayed, and the country's soccer federation said it is considering a protest.

In extra time, Henry twice handled the ball to prevent it going out of play, then passed to William Gallas in the Irish box for the deciding goal. France advanced to next year's World Cup finals in South Africa with a 2-1 aggregate score. At the time of Henry's unpunished handball, the match was 17 minutes from reaching a penalty shootout.

"If that result remains, it reinforces the view that if you cheat you will win," said Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern — who also pointed out that two French players appeared to be offsides on a free kick that preceded the goal. "Millions of people worldwide saw it was a blatant double handball, not to mention a double offside," Ahern said. "We should put the powers that be in the cozy world of FIFA on the spot and demand a replay."

The Football Association of Ireland said it was still mulling whether to protest. But Irish assistant manager Liam Brady and several players appealed to France's sense of honor. "If the game's going to survive, it's got to be an equal playing field," Brady said. "If we're going to have integrity and dignity in the world game, the game should be replayed. And we'll go to Paris to play it."

Listen: it was a terrible non-call (video below). But bad calls are an unfortunate part of any sport. Unless there is a replay capability at the time the play happens, the offended team has to live with it. This isn't fifth grade. We don't settle major sporting events with do-overs.

That said: wow, that was clearly a hand ball. Two of 'em, even. Nice cross-over dribble, Thierry.

 

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