Dunne: France, Henry cheated

2009-11-19 09:20
French coach Raymond Domenech, left, celebrates with French forward Thierry Henry. (AFP)
Johannesburg - Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne was on Wednesday night coming to terms with being "cheated" out of a place in next summer's World Cup finals.

VIDEO: Thierry Henry handball

Ireland lost a dramatic play-off 2-1 on aggregate in Paris as a result of William Gallas' extra-time goal.

However, the Irish players were furious that Swedish referee Martin Hansson had not spotted Thierry Henry's handball before he delivered the decisive 103rd-minute cross.

Dunne, who spoke to Henry on the final whistle, said: "He admitted afterwards he handled it, but it doesn't make me feel any better because we are not going to the World Cup finals.

"FIFA will probably be happy. Yet again the big decisions have gone for the bigger team.

"There has to be a case for matches of this importance for a fourth official to look at replays and get the calls right.

"We were cheated tonight."

Henry himself admitted he had handled the ball but laid responsibility for the goal being allowed at the door of referee Hansson.

"It was a handball, but I'm not the ref," he said on BBC Radio Five Live.

"The ball hit my arm, fell in front of me and I played it. The ref allowed it. That's a question you should ask him."

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni was left to reflect upon the biggest disappointment of his career as his brave troops were left empty-handed.

Henry appeared to twice control the ball with his hand before crossing for Gallas to score and, although the Ireland players protested vehemently to Hansson, he was not about to change his mind.

Trapattoni said: "This is the biggest disappointment of my career.

"The referee had time to ask the linesman and then after to ask Henry.

"It would not have been the first time a player would have asked and it would not have been out of turn.

"I am upset for fair play. We talk many times about fair play, I go to schools and talk to young children about the importance of fair play, and this happens.

"I spoke to the referee and I told him I know many Swedish players and Swedish people, but he may have made a great mistake."

Robbie Keane fired the Republic ahead on the night 13 minutes before the break, finishing expertly from Damien Duff's pull-back.

But as they continued to create the better chances, both John O'Shea and Duff might have increased their lead in normal time.

However, an extra 30 minutes was needed to separate the sides, and Ireland's luck deserted them once again.

France coach Raymond Domenech admitted he was a relieved many after seeing Ireland push his team all the way on their one park.

He said: "I am sorry for Ireland and in a way disappointed they have gone out.

"We would love to have won by two or three goals, but it was not to be. We are just happy to be going to South Africa."

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