Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday November 19 2009
Hopelessly unable to get past Shay Given and a determined Irish defence by conventional methods, the increasingly snidey Thierry Henry resorted to foul means in Paris last night...
After a pisspoor and thoroughly Eire controlled France drew level in extra time during last night's seismic World Cup 2010 qualifier, it was a great shame to see Irish stalwarts such as Damian Duff, Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane and Shay Given battling for the final moments in the last chance saloon of striving to make it to that tournament before their careers close.
To a man, the Irish were outstanding. Written off with little or no chance across football once FIFA conspired to seed play off sides following France's inclusion in the draw, they ran a team of poorly led, preening prima donna superstar's to the wire and beat them over 90 minutes in their lavish stadium.
France's clear lack of team spirit, cohesion or indeed, honour under the dreadful Raymond Domenech needs little introduction.
There has been a tremendous backlash against Henry and Domenech across France. Shameful, repulsive and scandalous are just some of the words being used across the French media such is the contempt for the way the French celebrities have qualified.
It really was that bad. If Henry hadn't used his hand, he could never have got the ball to the hopeless Gallas.
As legendary French commentator Thierry Roland said this lunchtime. 'I am ashamed.' He also joined his fellow pundits in praising the astounding Irish support while at the same time castigating the French players for having no bond with their own dreary librarian going followers.
Back to matters Sky Blue and it was notable that in amongst my pre match and after match discussions with my Irish comrades that not once did anybody have a bad word for Manchester City. Encouragement to break the boring English top four monopoly abounded.
Dunney was immense, Blues. I felt very real guilt seeing him fight for anything that moved knowing he's been offloaded to Aston Villa. He really was here, there and everyfeckingwhere.
Seamus meanwhile, was hardly tested but his very presence serves to reassure any side he stands behind. Absolutely crestfallen when the final whistle blew, he sat in his goalmouth in total disbelief.
Now though, he returns to Carrington and must pick himself up for City's six pointer at Liverpool inside 48 hours.
He's a professional of the highest calibre but even he will have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that too many conspiratorial question marks cast a dark shadow over this sport at the very highest level.
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Date:Thursday November 19 2009
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