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World Cup: Police come to French team's rescue

June 13, 2010 |  5:44 am

France may not have scored in its World Cup opener with Uruguay. But French striker Thierry Henry has South Africa's traffic police to thank for giving him the chance to try.

Henry's boots were held up in customs at the Cape Town airport before Friday's game, and it looked like they wouldn't get to the stadium in time for kickoff. Which is when Cape Town's intrepid "ghost squad" traffic police sprang into action.

Thierry Henry Provincial traffic spokeswoman Merle Lourens said the elite police squad was asked to help about three hours before the match.

"It was a weird request," she told South Africa's Sunday Times. "We've never done something like this before. [But] under the circumstances, we needed to get the game going. The guys can't play without their boots."

So traffic policeman Andre Norman sped across town to the airport, fetched the boots and handed them off to Lourens, who delivered them to police at the stadium. The package eventually reached Henry less than an hour before kickoff.

After all that, Henry came off the bench in the 72nd minute of the scoreless tie but didn't get off a shot.

-- Kevin Baxter, in Pretoria, South Africa

Photo: Thierry Henry and his boots, during a training session at the Fields of Dreams stadium in Knysna on June 12, 2010. Credit: Franck Fife / AFP/Getty Images