Furious, Irish Beg France for Rematch Over Handball

President will even take matter up with Sarkozy
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 8:06 PM CST

(Newser) – From the president on down, the Republic of Ireland is in a rage after the national soccer team was denied a spot in next year’s World Cup in a defeat by France—which got the winning goal as a direct benefit of an uncalled handball. Not only is the country’s soccer association pleading with its French counterpart for a rematch, but the nation’s president will take the matter up with Nicolas Sarkozy.

Thierry Henry admits he stopped a loose ball with his hand before his winning assist, but, soccer’s governing body says, there’s nothing in its rules to force a replay. “He’s a wonderful footballer,” an Irish exec says of Henry, “but does he want to be remember like Maradona was in 1986?” citing the so-called “Hand of God” goal that beat England in that year’s World Cup.