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Facebook frenzy: Thierry Henry has become the butt of international jokes after his handball put Ireland out of the World Cup

200,000 Irish turn to Facebook over French foul play

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Facebook frenzy: Thierry Henry has become the butt of international jokes after his handball put Ireland out of the World Cup

 

About 200,000 Irish fans from all over the world have joined a Facebook petition calling on FIFA for a replay of the France/Ireland match which ended in bitter controversy in Paris Wednesday night.

France advanced to the World Cup finals through a disputed goal after star striker Thierry Henry blatantly handled the ball before setting up the winning score.

Meanwhile a Facebook site entitled "We hate Thierry Henry (the cheat)" attracted over 80,000 Irish fans worldwide, including many in America who are still incensed that the match officials missed the brazen hand ball that cost Ireland a chance to play in the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Fans are being asked to flood the phones of soccer's governing body FIFA and demand a replay.

Irish Americans are posting in record numbers on both sites. Dermot O'Brien from Manhattan said: "This was the worst French act since they let the Germans march into Paris."

Liz O'Shea from Boston said: 'I just tossed my French knickers. Imagine I once had a French boyfriend. Big non non from now on." Jim Quinn from San Francisco wrote "Let's rename French fries frog fries and boycott them."

Even Prime Minister Brian Cowen became involved in the controversy when he called for the game to be replayed. The Irish football association has already requested a replay from the FIFA world governing body. Cowen discussed the game with French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy at a European summit/

The Guardian newspaper said Henrygate, had "mutated into the most fevered sporting brouhaha in recent memory and something close to an international incident."

And they pointed out that Thierry Henry had "awoke this morning as perhaps the most vilified footballer on the planet."

The Guardian notes that the controversy was driven by "a perfect storm of new technology, a highly visible injustice, and perhaps also Henry's own irresistible status as France's charismatic captain and leader, " and that "something much broader, and initially internet-driven, was in train."
 

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