In my piece yesterday, I discussed all of the reasons that Ireland’s potential qualification was better for World Football than France’s would be. I detailed my reasoning without any mention that a group of hard working custodians of the game should not be denied by a group of talented but unsporting cheats. But that is what ended up being the net result of the match on Wednesday. (Aiden McGeady is the one Ireland player we will exempt from this comparison)
But alas, Giovanni Trapattoni’s side has been defeated. This is despite the fact that Trapattoni has been able to get a group of Championship and low end Premier League players (with a few exceptions) to play at a level higher than that of an allegedly world class French squad. Trap’s squad also has upheld the honor and dignity of the sport, while the France squad managed by a man who stopped selecting Robert Pires to the side because he was born in the wrong month, has brought the game into tremendous disrepute.
I detailed on Tuesday how Trapattoni could set up his team to stalemate the match in Paris. But to Ireland’s credit they didn’t adopt the negative tactics that I suggested and went forward creating many more legitimate chances in the second leg than the much hyped French side did in the entire 210 minute tie.
Given that Thierry Henry’s blatant handball, denied Ireland participation in South Africa 2010 and the stain his action leaves on the world game and Irish nation he must make amends for the good of football.
Henry has to take one of two choices to redeem himself and avoid being placed in the cheat category with Diego Maradona.
As a wealthy footballer who has played for several big clubs in the three biggest leagues on the planet, Henry has made plenty of money. He should out of his own volition donate to the Football Association of Ireland a sum equivelent to the money that the FAI would have generated by particpating in next summer’s World Cup
He can call for FIFA to authorize a replay, played in Paris, sometime before the December 4th World Cup draw.
Failure to take either action should forever taint Henry and will undermine the legacy of his great years at Monaco, Juve, Arsenal and Barca. If Henry’s game is really Fair Play and he is as serious as he claims about his efforts to promote football (such as the Stamp out Racism campaign) he needs to speak up immediately.