World Cup play-offs

Diarra: Ireland players were ''looking for trouble''

November 16, 2009
By Soccernet staff

French midfielder Lassana Diarra says that the Republic of Ireland were ''looking for trouble'' at the end of Saturday's World Cup play-off match at Croke Park, after Nicolas Anelka's deflected goal secured a slender 1-0 advantage for France.

Keith Andrews
GettyImagesKeith Andrews and Lassana Diarra are pulled apart at Croke Park

• Keith Andrews accuses Diarra
• Republic of Ireland 0-1 France

Players from both sides clashed angrily at the final whistle with Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews accusing Diarra of making an inflammatory comment, but the Frenchman is looking forward to the rematch.

"I don't know exactly what happened, even if it happens quite often," Diarra told reporters. "If Andrews asks for trouble, we will meet again on Wednesday. Andrews walked on my ankle during the second half. But it was nothing. It happens quite often at the end of a match.

"The Irishmen have been frustrated. They lost 1-0. They are looking for trouble. Maybe they wanted me to get a card. I didn't say anything. I have absolutely nothing against Irish people. I played for five years in England and I never had any trouble. They are talking to the press. We can talk to the press too."

Diarra's team-mate Patrice Evra, meanwhile, hopes the frustration will not be carried into the return leg at Stade de France.

"I just asked John O'Shea to calm down his players," said the Manchester United left-back. ''We don't have to make any controversy out of that, the return leg will be heated enough. They lost and we woke up Irish pride. I don't think Irish players needed that to be motivated."