Hand of Frog

I watched the first France vs Ireland game, played in Dublin, whilst in a hotel room in Stuttgart making a gentle progress home from San Marino.  I thought the French clearly deserved to win and should have done so by more than 1-0.  So, I watched the game this week expecting to see France make progress to the finals of the World Cup in South Africa.  I was worried at the time by the complacency that seemed to come through the media and from what was reported of the views of the players.  People I work with were a mixture of complacency and fear that something would go wrong.  Ireland were a different team in Paris, they didn’t let the French play like the French had done in Dublin and then when Robbie Keane got the goal a very different game was taking place.  This time the Irish had the chances to win but didn’t score them, and then there was the handled goal by Thierry Henry. French people I work with have all been pleased that their team have gone through but are embarrassed and ashamed at the way it happened.  I haven’t spoken to any Irish people here so I don’t know if they feel as Eric Cantona says he would have in the same position!  I see Henry has now admitted what happened and said the game should be replayed but I think his reputation remains damaged and it makes no difference as it will not be replayed.  Anyway, perhaps I’ll get a first hand view on Irish feelings now about the matter from the manager of the Irish pub I’m off to, to see the early match, Manchester City vs Liverpool in my new Manchester City shirt.  Big news in Strasbourg at the moment is the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the liberation of the city in 19944, of which more later.

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