The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

How utterly predictable…

I’m going to come right out and say that I agree with those who describe the France-Ireland result on Wednesday as an atrocity. However, my reasons for saying so don’t exactly jive with everyone else’s, it seems.

Before I begin, I won’t even try and defend the performance of the referee on Thierry Henry’s handball. While it did happen fairly quickly in real time, the play looked almost (ironically) like an Gaelic Football goal. How that was missed by Hansson, I have no earthly idea. However, blaming the linesman for missing it is just not on. The incident happened on the opposite side of the field to where he was, and there had to have been a forest of bodies in between.

Now that we’ve established that, I have three questions that I wish other Ireland supporters had the guts to ask:

1. Uhh…handball or not, who was marking Gallas on the goal? Aren’t you always taught to play to the whistle?

2. Are you seriously cheeky enough to be asking for a replay here? Not that FIFA/UEFA would do so anyway – while I don’t put much stock in conspiracy theories, it is of course clear that this is their preferred result – but what if the positions were reversed? If Robbie Keane had handled one over to Sean St. Ledger, would you be sternly shaking your head and denouncing Keane’s sense of fairness and sportsmanship? Fuck no, you wouldn’t…you’d still be sleeping off the celebratory pints and you know it. Besides, isn’t it commendable that Henry has at least admitted to the press that it was a handball? He could as easily have said “no comment” and moved on. You can vilify Henry all you want, but at the end of the day, he’s a player trying to qualify for the World Cup, and he is ABSOLUTELY within his rights to take advantage of any mistakes the match officials make. Again, if it benefited the men in green, no one would be saying a fucking thing right now.

3. Isn’t it also a little too convenient to blame Hansson and Henry entirely when the Irish forwards spurned about 376 different glorious chances to score over the two legs? I didn’t see the second leg on account of being in the ER all day, but I did see the first leg. In that match alone, there were three instances that I remember where you’d have expected Helen Keller to score…even two of the three would have put the Irish in prime position to qualify heading into Paris. Even from reading the minute-by-minute on the Guardian, there were another series of gilt-edged chances that were created on the counter. If one more were put away, then we were through on aggregate score and wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.

So, by all means, blame Hansson to some extent – he got a major decision wrong, and he will hopefully be judged by his assessors based on that. I don’t see how you can blame the linesman, who was almost surely unsighted on the play. I don’t see how you can blame Henry, who was just doing his job. I don’t see how you can try to seriously claim that FIFA and UEFA conspired to throw the match to France. I don’t see how you can bitch about the last-minute decision to seed the playoffs…it didn’t present any problem to Greece or Slovenia, and Bosnia only lost to Portugal by 1-0 over the two legs…it so easily could have gone the other way.

Seriously, it’s sour fucking grapes and it’s unbecoming of us as a fanbase. Besides, our revenge will come when France implodes in hilarious fashion once they get to the Finals. OK, that’s sour grapes of a different variety, but at least it’s not throwing our toys out of the pram like a spoiled child while the entire world watches.



November 19, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer

1 Comment »

  1. Also, even if the goal was correctly overturned, that doesn’t mean that Ireland would’ve won, it just would mean that they would’ve had a chance with PKs. Wait, did I just defend France…fuck me.

    (Also, I am totally for instant replay. Sports that don’t take advantage of technology are just stodgy.)

    Comment by Tony | November 19, 2009 | Reply

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