Damien Duff

France is through to the World Cup finals after an incredible oversight by the referee, which allowed a Thierry Henry handball to go unpunished which led to the winning French goal. With the goal, the French qualified on a 2-1 aggregate score.

Henry had snuck in behind the Irish defense in the first period of extra time when a free kick was delivered into the box. Henry used his hand to guide the ball, then crossed it where it  was headed to the net.

Irish players protested in vain, but the damage had been done and the French held on.

The Irish team had covered themselves in glory up to that point, and should be on their way to South Africa after Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle missed several great chances to put the game away.

For the French, the game was a nightmare with Ireland on top throughout after a Keane goal late in the first half. However, the reality is that they, not Ireland. have qualified.

Earlier, Ireland had taken a 1-0 lead to the dressing room at halftime at the Stade De France after a Keane goal in the 30th minute gave them a shock lead over France.

 

The score was then tied at 1-1 with the second half to come. Ireland were good value for their goal, outplaying a nervous French side which made many basic mistakes throughout the game.
 
Indeed, Ireland might have been 2-0 up as Kevin Doyle missed with a header from close range and Robbie Keane had a goal chance snatched away by the French keeper.
 
Ireland came out at the beginning full of energy and spirit and pinned the French down in their own half. It was the opposite of their cautious display in Dublin and the French seemed taken aback.
 
The Irish goal came after a great Damien Duff run down the left flank and he pulled a cross back from the endline to the waiting Keane who made no mistake.