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World Cup Qualifiers


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France got the bad luck of being drawn against Serbia, a team that routinely shines in qualification and fails miserably in the finals.

France on paper is a great side, one of the best in the world but they just aren't playing up to their potential.

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If they were that good, they would have won their group with plenty to spare. As it is, they are scraping through by no more than the slap of a player who has gone a long way down in my estimations this evening.

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That's hardly Ireland's fault though Faster.

France have been lucky tonight by the sounds of it; very, very lucky.

Did I discuss Ireland in my post, no, I stated that France was drawn with Serbia, a team that routinely excels in qualification and that maybe the qualification campaign is not the best gauge of the quality of France.

The tie certainly calls into question the quality of France.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s8VXtHmiu0

Just seen it on YouTube. Certainly no goal.

Did he cheat or did it come off his hand? If the former, he's a cheat and should be ashamed. If the latter, nobody can really expect him to own up to it can they? Would Robbie Keane own up for an accidental handball if it were at the other end?

Having said that, the more I watch it, the more intentional it looks.

They said on the radio the ref was blindsided so it seems hard to blame him. The more I watch this, the less I think of Henry to be honest. It looks like he controlled it. What a horrible loss for Ireland, and an underserved victory for the French.

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There can be no shine on it at all, Stu. France have cheated their way to South Africa. It is that simple.

True, but to accept responsibility in such a crucial game, at such a crucial moment, would have been very unlikely of most players. I'm sure Henry will suffer the consequences for quite a while.

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I don't think anyone would expect him to accept responsibility right after the handball Stu. And were it accidental, the goal would be galling but forgivable.

But you'd kind of expect a professional not to control the ball with his hand in the first place - the more I watch the clip the more the handball looks intentional. That's what people are annoyed about.

Sorry Stu, France got lucky that the ref didn't see this. One man has got France through tonight, but not in a way any of his teammates can be proud of.

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It was like volleyball, not football, from Henry. I would not necessarily have expected Henry to stoop to such depths but I would have expected the linesman in particular to make the right decision.

Still think technology is wrong Blatter, you utter moron!

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I don't think anyone would expect him to accept responsibility right after the handball Stu. And were it accidental, the goal would be galling but forgivable.

But you'd kind of expect a professional not to control the ball with his hand in the first place - the more I watch the clip the more the handball looks intentional. That's what people are annoyed about.

True too. :(

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And isn't that just what's wrong with football? First FIFA move the goalposts and seed the playoffs and then you see something as sickening as that. How many more blatant injustices do we have to see until the ostriches get their heads out of the sand and do what is right for the game, not just for the big teams they apparently want to protect so much?

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I've always been against video replay technology (goalline technology, on the other hand, I've always been for) because every week on Match of the Day the pundits see 20 slo-mo replays of the same incidenct and come to different conclusions from each other! I've never thought it to be the great solution some think it to be. That position is quite hard to defend tonight, but I'm sticking by it for now - I'm not going to change my mind in the heat of the moment.

The play-off seedings, on the other hand, were very wrong - completely agree with you there Arwebb. France gets rewarded for failure in their group where as Ireland don't. Nope FIFA, that one was indefensible.

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Personally, I've always been in favour of video technology and incidents like tonight only reinforce my view that football's decision-makers continue to live in the sporting equivalent of the dark ages.

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Ya, I think its about time to introduce instant replays in Football, at least for offenses that can be carded (e.i. diving, handball in the box, headbutts when the ref isn't looking (well, apparently its permitted for that ^^), etc.), and decisions directly affecting whether a goal is valid or not (e.i. offside).

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