After seeing Thierry Henry's get away with a blatant handball in last night's pivotal World Cup qualifier between France and Ireland it was difficult to not recall a similar incident back in 1977 when Wales played Scotland in their all important final qualifying game. Scottish striker Joe Jordan handles the ball in the Welsh penalty area but David Jones gets incorrectly penalized for the handball and a penalty is awarded. Scotland score and qualify for the World Cup in Argentina and Wales as a result are eliminated.
To think 32 years later a similar incident has transpired is an absolute absurdity. While Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini adhere to their notion that video technology cannot be a part of the modern game, it is a view that appears to be in stark contrast to what everyone else in the football world demands. As a neutral observer of last night's game it was both annoying and disheartening to see the game finish in such a way. While the Irish wrath from players, staff and supporters is completely justifiable, it really should be directed in one simple direction and that is to FIFA and its leader, Blatter. While the officials are noted as being responsible it has been clear over the years (through the improved technology of cameras et al) that it is now too easy for them to be blinded to crucial incidents and therefore human error in the electric pace of the modern football game is an absolute certainty. Blaming Henry also has limitations. While his explanation - players do their job and referees do theirs - was a little nauseating it at the same time resonated some truth.
As for the game itself the Irish can consider themselves extremely unlucky.
Having scored the only "legitimate goal" they also missed three clear-cut chances to increase their lead had they been a little sharper in the final third.
Trapattoni, who has proven to be a leader sumpreme since taking over the Ireland team, should be credited with the fact they came so close in the first place. No losses in the group stage was an accomplishmnent in itself but the preparation and tactics towards the playoff games against the French was even better. Then in his final statements when addressing the controversial French goal he suggests that the referee should have asked Henry if he did in fact handle the ball - in the spirit of fair play of course! A brilliant performance from the Irish cultivated from a brilliant brain!
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