Did Thierry Henry (handball) cheat France into the World Cup?
The French are in and the Irish are out.
That is the plain and simple fact of the matter.
But did France in the person of Thierry Henry cheat its way into the World Cup in South Africa next year? That's a question that will be debated long and loud in the wake of Henry's apparent deliberate handling of the ball before William Gallas' goal secured the French their ticket to the tournament at Ireland's expense.
This is what the goal looked like. I have viewed it a half-dozen times or more and still cannot make up my mind. Did Henry touch the ball or was his hand merely in its vicinity? If he did handle it, the goal should have been nullified by Swedish referee Martin Hansson (kind of an ironic name, incidentally--Hands On).
The Irish fans in Paris chanted "cheat, cheat" at Henry. The goal will stand. There is no appeal process. If FIFA has any doubts about the call, or non-call, it will be reflected in Hansson's not being called up to officiate at the World Cup. That will not placate the Irish, but there isn't much else to be done.
Diego Maradona got away with it in 1986, in much more blatant circumstances. Henry, if he did cheat, did it much more quickly and subtly than the Argentine.
You make the call, and let us know. Did Henry handle the ball or not? Is Irish rage justified?
-- Grahame L. Jones
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