MEMORY LANE; The hand of God - Newslibre

Memory Lane: The Hand of God that Ended Ireland’s Chance for World Cup

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.

MEMORY LANE; The hand of God - Newslibre
Nicolas Anelka celebrating before we would witness the hand of God. (Image Credit: pundit arena)

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

As the game crawled over the normal timeline, France’s gameplay was as ugly as a toad. In the 103rd minute and 23 seconds, came the moment that changed the game. France won a freekick closely after the center circle and blue shirts flooded Ireland’s half.
Florent Malouda floated a free-kick into Ireland’s area from 45 yards out. The ball bounced and it was destined for a goal kick, Henry stuck out his left hand, stopped the ball before squaring it to Gallas who had an open net in front of him to nod home.

MEMORY LANE; The hand of God - Newslibre
Robbie Keane celebrates his equalizer before Thierry Henry’s hand of God took France to World Cup 2010. (Photo credit: The Sun)
Three days after the match, Henry had this to say. ”The fairest solution would be to replay the game, but it is not in my control. Naturally, I feel embarrassed at the way that we won, and I feel extremely sorry for the Irish, who definitely deserve to be in South Africa. I said at the time and I will say again that yes, I handled the ball. I am not a cheat and I never have been. It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.”
Karma in South Africa? For the second consecutive major tournament, France took a single point from three games and finished bottom in their group. Domenech was later fired and most players (Anelka, Evra, Franck Ribery) were banned from the national team. Isn’t the hand of god supposed to prepare you for disaster? I don’t know.
Article by Brian Mugabi
Memory Lane: The Hand of God that Ended Ireland's Chance for World Cup 1

Author: reporter

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