Thierry Henry is one of the world’s greatest football players. He is undoubtedly one of the best to have played in the Premier League. He has dazzled us with his beautiful football for many years. He has played for some of the world’s biggest football clubs. Last night, he showed us an ugly side to his game. He did something that we are all taught not to do from a young age. He cheated. In fact, he did more than that. He ripped out the hearts of a nation and robbed Ireland of a chance to make it to the World Cup Finals.
I wonder if Thierry Henry can look at himself in the mirror today? And if he can, I wonder what he sees? When I see Henry now, I don’t see the legend. I don’t see the magician. I see a cheat. I see a man who was unable to use his God given talent to help his country win. Instead he stooped to Maradona’s level and just like the Argentine superstar robbed England in the 1986 World Cup with his infamous Hand of God, Henry has now done the same. This time, Ireland are the victims. Since 1986, Maradona’s image has been tarnished because of his actions. People never saw him in the same light and I think Henry will suffer the same consequences.
Millions of football fans around the world saw what happened on the pitch last night. If we could all see it, then why couldn’t the officials? Was this the work of fat cat Blatter and Plantini the snob? Did the executives who head-up our football governing body want to ensure France made it to the World Cup Finals? When something like this happens, we can’t help but think there is something else to it. The handball was so blatant. It was so obvious. It was so disgusting. It shouldn’t have been the deciding factor on such an important night.
Sure Ireland had their chances. They could have finished off the game, but they didn’t. And who knows if they would have won the penalty shoot-out. The point is they were never given the opportunity to get to that point because of an incredibly bad decision by the officials. Boyhood dreams were shattered because someone didn’t do their job. These players have worked hard and tirelessly for their country. It’s more than just the incident itself. It goes beyond what happened on the pitch. I believe a fair result would be for FIFA to arrange a replay of the game. It would set a precedent and perhaps going down this road would open a can of football worms, but surely someone has to be accountable for what happened. The World Cup only comes around every 4 years. The process for qualifying takes 2 years. And in a split second, an entire football team and nation were robbed of the dreams they’ve shared for years as kids and adults.
Did anyone believe we would see the Hand of God Part Deux?