Make sure you listen to this week’s Soccerlens Podcast that discusses Henry’s handball and a lot more.
…Or at least if you had just read the reactions from the fans and trigger-happy journalists, you’d think this is what Henry had actually done:
On a serious note, the ‘victims’ – the Irish team – have been refreshingly objective about the situation and have laid the blame squarely on the horrible refereeing and to a much lesser extent on their own poor finishing as the real reasons why the French and not the Irish are headed to South Africa.
The Irish team and management have pointed fingers at FIFA, at Blatter, at Platini – but not at Henry (who to his credit admitted that he had handballed but defended himself by saying that he’s ‘not the referee’).
This is the same Thierry Henry who dove twice in the 2006 World Cup – during the second round game against Spain when his dive led to the free kick that led to France’s comeback in that game, and during the semi-final against Portugal where his dive led to France’s only goal and thus a place in the finals (1, 2).
Once in the final, there was a Malouda dive that helped France score the first goal of the game. And yet, because France had been the underdogs in that campaign (beating Brazil in the quarters, no less)…the Italians ended up being demonized as cheats.
It’s France’s turn now. Whenever the underdog gets cheated there’s always a huge uproar – the joyous David v Goliath narrative is broken and all hell breaks lose.
But when the big dog gets cheated – which happens quite a lot in football – it’s met with a ‘you deserved it’ attitude that is completely at odds with calls for ‘better refereeing’ made the last time around.
Hypocrites, the whole lot of them – fans and journos.
Credits: DangerHere.com for the video.