Republic of Ireland vs Denmark: Ten years on from Thierry Henry’s infamous handball, Mick McCarthy’s men are eyeing redemption with Euro 2020 in sight

18 Nov

The Republic of Ireland head into Monday night’s crucial game against Denmark knowing a victory will secure them a spot at a third straight European Championship.

Mick McCarthy’s men go into the Euro 2020 qualifier with the added incentive of it being the 10th anniversary of the infamous Thierry Henry handball which shattered their World Cup dreams.

Victory against Denmark will guarantee Mick McCarthy’s men a place at Euro 2020

While McCarthy’s men are guaranteed a spot in the play-offs in March, they will want to get the job done in front of a bumper crowd in Dublin.

Below, looks at how that that controversial night in 2009 has been forever etched into Ireland’s sporting folklore…

The build-up

Still feeling aggrieved at FIFA’s decision to change its mind over seeding the play-offs, Giovanni Trapattoni’s men had headed into the first game of their two-legged play-off in confident mood. However, they were disappointing in Dublin and went down to Nicolas Anelka’s lone strike to leave the French with the upper hand.

The game

Perhaps sensing that it was now or never, Ireland turned in perhaps their best performance under Trapattoni at the Stade de France and took a deserved 1-0 lead through skipper Robbie Keane’s first-half goal.

They had chances to extend their lead but did not take them and, after 90 minutes, the aggregate scores were level and extra time was required.

Robbie Keane gave the Irish a deserved first-half lead on the night
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Le main de Dieu

Thirteen minutes into extra time, Florent Malouda’s deep free-kick eluded defender Paul McShane and Henry controlled before turning the ball across goal for William Gallas to head home. Replays showed that the then Barcelona frontman had handled twice in bringing the ball under control, but crucially out of sight of referee Martin Hansson and his assistants and the Republic’s protests went unanswered.

Republic of Ireland players appeal to the referee after William Gallas’ goal is allowed to stand after Thierry Henry’s blatant handball
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What they said

Trapattoni: “Everybody saw the game. You know what happened.”

Keane: “They are all probably clapping hands, (Michel) Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result.”

Henry admitted to Richard Dunne after the game he had handled the ball
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Richard Dunne: “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.”

France manager Raymond Domenech: “I did not see a hand. It’s you people who are speaking about this.”

The aftermath

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) lodged an official complaint with FIFA, although their calls for a replay and then to be included as the 33rd team at the finals both fell on deaf ears.

Then chief executive John Delaney later revealed that the FAI had received a payment of five million Euros – at the time around £3.6million – initially in the form of an interest-free loan which ultimately did not have to be repaid in return for an agreement not to press their claim through the courts.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s men lodged an appeal after the incident
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France travelled to the finals in South Africa determined to make the most of their lucky escape but did not remain there for very long.

Domenech’s players went on strike after Anelka was sent home following a row with the coach and the point they gained from an opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay in Cape Town was the only one they mustered, as defeats to Mexico and the hosts ended their participation at the first hurdle.

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