These memories have surely put years on me, but the fact is I’m getting on by the years. Eleven years ago, the Republic of Ireland fans were down in the mouth. The hand of god erased Giovani Trapattoni’s 2010 world cup hopes.
The shadows of history reflect that on Wednesday, November 18, 2009, when Thierry Henry and the cast defeated Republic of Ireland 2-1 on aggregate to sneak through to the 2010 world cup in South Africa.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s’ boys, having cruised through their group unbeaten with four wins and 6 draws (Group 8; Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Montenegro & Georgia). They finished second on 18 points and Italy above them on 24 points.
They were tailored to take on any team that was thrown their way. A month earlier, the draw for the playoffs had been held in Zurich, they were pitted against France. A cast that included Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Eric Abidal, Florent Malouda, Karim Benzema, Evra and William Gallas.
Flashback, this team wasn’t as good as these individuals I’ve mentioned at that time. At Euro 2008, France had picked up only one point from the possible fifteen. Still, shocked? During the qualification route to South Africa, they had landed in the playoffs by finishing second behind Serbia in a seemingly weak group (Serbia, Australia, Lithuania, Romania & Faroe Islands).
The Republic of Ireland had no top names but they had experience in Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Damien Duff. In my opinion, it was a more ambitious side than the Raymond Domenech side.
The first leg at Dublin Croke park lacked that much drama, the loss instead gave birth to hope for Ireland. Anelka’s 72nd-minute effort deflected in off a defender to hand France the upper-hand of the tie.
After four days, Keane levelled the tie in the 33rd minute at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis. A match that was officiated by Martin Hansson in front of 79,145 spectators.
Thierry Henry’s Hand of God Sent France to 2010 World Cup
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