Thierry Henry has admitted that he did handle the ball in the move that led to France’s goal in their World Cup play-off defeat of the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup.
The French captain sparked controversy as he handled Florent Malouda’s ball into the box, before crossing for William Gallas to head the ball home for the equalising goal that meant that France went through 2-1 on aggregate.
The goal came in the first-half of extra-time, after Ireland had beaten France over 90 minutes thanks to Robbie Keane’s first-half goal.
“Yes, there is a handball but I am not the referee,” Henry admitted.
“I didn’t deliberately do it , but it was handball.
“I’m in the box, there are two defenders in front of me. The ball bounced off my hand, the referee did not see it and I played on.
“It doesn’t change anything to the fact that I’m happy we have qualified.”
French coach Raymond Domenech was pleased to go through, although he said he did not see the handball.
“I did not see a hand. It’s you people who are speaking about this,” he said.
“Sometimes we feel unlucky like we were against Serbia, sometimes we feel lucky.
“I just want to congratulate the Irish team. I am disappointed for the public and the fans. In a way, I regret that they did not qualify.
“I very happy for the players and the staff and the people here. The only word we need to say tonight is that we are very happy at the qualification.”
Giovanni Trapattoni admits he was saddened by the controversial way in which Republic of Ireland were eliminated.
“I am not only disappointed, I am also sad. It is a bitter evening,” said the Italian.
“It’s a bitter situation. I would prefer to have gone out on penalties.
“I am sad because the referee had time to ask the linesman. I am sure he should have, and he could have confirmed it was handball.
“I am upset. We speak many times about fair play. I go to schools and speak about fair play. I speak with the young kids about sport. It’s important in life.
“Everybody saw the game. You know what happened. France played well in Dublin, but we played better here.
“And over two games, we deserved to go to South Africa. But the result is different. We can only wish them well. They can do well in South Africa.”