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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Henry admits handball for winning goal

Thierry Henry has admitted he had handled the ball to set up William Gallas' controversial equaliser against Ireland, but laid responsibility for the goal at the door of the referee.

• France 1-1 (2-1 agg) Ireland

''It was a handball, but I'm not the ref,'' he said on BBC Radio Five Live. ''The ball hit my arm, fell in front of me and I played it. The ref allowed it. That's a question you should ask him.''

France coach Raymond Domenech's press conference bordered on farce when there was initially no interpreter, although when later questioned about Gallas' goal, he was terse to say the least.

He said: ''I did not see a hand. It's you people who are speaking about this. Sometimes we feel unlucky like we were against Serbia, sometimes we feel lucky. I just want to congratulate the Irish team. I am disappointed for the public and the fans. In a way, I regret that they did not qualify.

''I very happy for the players and the staff and the people here. The only word we need to say tonight is that we are very happy at the qualification.''

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni admitted he would rather have suffered the heartache of penalty shoot-out defeat.

Trapattoni said: ''I am not only disappointed, I am also sad. It is a bitter evening. It's a bitter situation. I would prefer to have gone out on penalties. I am sad because the referee had time to ask the linesman. I am sure he should have, and he could have confirmed it was handball.

''I am upset. We speak many times about fair play. I go to schools and speak about fair play. I speak with the young kids about sport. Its important in life. Everybody saw the game. You know what happened.''

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