Tournament News

Handball row devastated Henry

2009-11-23 12:11

Paris - Thierry Henry considered ending his international career following the furore that surrounded his handball against Ireland in the World Cup playoff in Paris last Wednesday.

Speaking to L'Equipe newspaper, the Barcelona striker said that he felt abandoned and alone in the days after the game which saw the French qualify for South Africa on the back of a goal set up by Henry's sleight of hand.

Asked if he had considered calling time on his international career Henry replied: "Oh yes. On Friday when everything had gone too far.

"I was really upset, and not for the first time. After the World Cup in 2006, I considered that but it was too early.

"After Euro 2008 also but it was not the right moment. There was a new generation who needed me. It just wasn't possible.

"Despite everything that happened last week, the way I felt abandoned, I will never let my country down."

Henry freely admitted at the end of the Ireland game that he had used his hand in setting up the French equaliser for William Gallas which was enough to send the Irish crashing out of the tournament in extra time.

That led to calls from Ireland and from some sectors in France for the game to be replayed, but world governing body FIFA ruled out any such eventuality ahead of the World Cup draw which takes place in Cape Town on December 4.

Henry, who himself said it would be best to replay the game, said that he felt great sympathy for the Irish having suffered a similar fate when playing for Arsenal against Liverpool in 2001 FA Cup final.

He did regret having celebrated the goal but said that he had been taken up by the emotion of the moment in what had been a tense encounter.

"I shouldn't have done that, but quite honestly it was just out of my control," he said.

"It's true I regret it and that is why shortly afterwards I went to each Irish player to speak to them. After that we did not celebrate, not even in the dressing rooms."

Asked if he thought the incident would leave a lasting stain on his career, Henry said. "Quite honestly no. I don't think that all I have achieved in my career up until now will be be spoiled by this."


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