Keane slams Blatter
Robbie Keane (File)
France - Ireland captain Robbie Keane blasted football's governing body for using seedings in the World Cup playoff draw, and claimed FIFA president Sepp Blatter will be delighted France qualified.
Keane's clinical first-half goal put Ireland ahead at Stade de France, but William Gallas equalised in extra time and sent the French through 2-1 on aggregate on Wednesday after their scrappy 1-0 win in Dublin.
Although angry at Thierry Henry's handball in the move leading to Gallas' goal, Keane was livid over the decision to make France one of the four seeded teams in the play-off draw, where as Ireland was not seeded.
Keane said Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, who is French, would rather see France than Ireland playing at next year's World Cup in South Africa.
"Of course it is an easy decision to do the seedings," Keane said. "They're probably all clapping their hands, Platini sitting there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, texting each other, delighted with the result, with France (getting through)."
Keane, who had an outstanding match but should have added to his 41st international goal, believed Ireland was the far better team overall. Nicolas Anelka's scrappy goal decided Saturday's match at Croke Park.
"Of course, over the two legs we were certainly the better team. I can't recall them having many chances tonight. We caused them many problems. But at the end of the day they're through," Keane said. "We can keep our heads up, in the manner that we played. As captain I am very proud to be part of this team, I'm just gutted we didn't make it to the end."
Keane played many times for Tottenham against Henry when the Frenchman played for Arsenal until joining Barcelona two years ago, and was seething that Henry used his hand to guide the ball into his feet and then onto Gallas.
"Devastated to be honest with you. The way we played we deserved to win the game, there's no question about that," Keane said. "We saw it (on the replay). We knew anyway. When you see the reaction of goalkeeper Shay (Given), he's two yards away from it. You don't get a reaction like that (otherwise). He almost caught it and walked into the net with it."
Still, Keane felt he should have won the match, missing a great chance late in the second half when France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris forced him wide and Keane pushed the ball out of touch as he tried to get the ball under control.
"My touch let me down, I should have taken it round the 'keeper. I'm absolutely devastated," Keane said.
Lloris foiled Keane in the first half by diving at his feet, just as he did late on in Saturday's match at Croke Park.