France qualified for the World Cup in South Africa in the summer thanks to a William Gallas header against Ireland in Paris. With French supporters everywhere celebrating, replays showed in the build-up to the goal, Thierry Henry hand-balling the ball onto his foot to cross. Of course, that is against the rules and it is very unfortunate that he should have done that however, would we be complaining if Kevin Doyle had done it for Richard Dunne to score? I don’t think so, somehow.
The whole of Great Britain was pushing for Ireland to win and there was no real surprise when they took the lead and stamped their authority. And we all felt robbed when the Irish went out, but history shows us that is football.
The uproar has been all a bit embarrassing. Thierry Henry is now a cheat, it doesn’t matter that his reputation has been almost blemish-free. His status as an all time Premier League great is under threat. Somehow, I don’t think any French person will care, because they, with a shockingly bad team, are going to the World Cup. Lots of people will get on their high horse and claim they would never support the behaviour of Henry.
What behaviour? The fact that as the captain, he wanted to drag his team from a string of poor performances and get them on that plane to South Africa? Let me ask you this, would any English fan care if it was Beckham who had done it to win them the World Cup? Even just to get to the finals? I’m English and I wouldn’t care. Because of all what will be remembered is the teams that played.
Rooney and Gerrard have continuingly dived and I’ve expected reams of condemnation from fans everywhere. It never happens, because when they put on the shirt of their great country, the will to win overshadows everything.
Take in 2006, the World Cup in Germany. Rooney stamped on Carvalho, and Ronaldo pounced on the foul and asked the question to the referee to send him off. He winked at the bench, causing uncontrollable fury from the British nation. We booed him for a bit, but voted him the best player the very next year, showing it had been swept under the rug. Not forgotten of course but we still realised he was still a good player.
Take Platini in the wake of the shambles that was trying to get Eduardo a ban for diving. He came out and claimed that diving was bad but would do it for his country any day. What sort of example does that set? It will be interesting to see what Platini has to say, no doubt.
It is a shame that the colour and passion of the Irish people will not be in South Africa, and will be sorely missed. I support the call for video technology, I mean how long would it have taken for the handball to be shown? This is a perfect time to bring the calls into action. Henry is a great player, but he is also a professional, with a will to win.