FOOTBALL : There was plenty of sympathy for the Republic of Ireland in the French media on Thursday morning after the controversial extra-time goal that denied them a place in next summer’s World Cup finals.
There was plenty of sympathy for the Republic of Ireland in the French media on Thursday morning after the controversial extra-time goal that denied them a place in next summer’s World Cup finals.
National newspaper L’Equipe ran the headline ‘Hand of God’ on its back page after skipper Thierry Henry admitted to handling the ball in the lead-up to William Gallas’ goal which secured an aggregate victory.
Le Monde admitted the goal was a fraught ending to a stuttering qualification campaign for the French, with their main headline reading ‘Blues relieved, Irish disgusted’.
France coach Raymond Domenech has come in for criticism during his side’s below-par campaign and the manner with which qualification to South Africa was finally accomplished has not convinced the French media.
Former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu, who is now a television and radio pundit, was outspoken following the match describing the performance as “catastrophic”.
Speaking on TF1 he said: “We’re going to go the World Cup, but we go to the locker-room with our heads bowed. It was not something to be proud of.
“I’m not going to party.”
French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes admitted he understood the Irish frustrations.
“We were stunned and were not able to develop our game – I understand that the Irish are frustrated,” he told L’Equipe.
“They must forget this evening and use it for the future. You have to take a philosophical approach to this match. Football is played on small details, however, qualification is still beautiful.”