Monday’s Republic of Ireland Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark takes place exactly 10 years since Thierry Henry’s infamous handball ended their hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup Finals.
Robbie Keane, now in Mick McCarthy’s backroom team, was amazed when told of the looming 10th anniversary.
“Ten years, is it? Wow!” Robbie Keane told FAI TV.
“I wish there was VAR then, it would have been a lot easier. But it is what it is.”
Keane scored the Republic’s goal in the second leg in Paris which levelled up the play-off after France’s 1-0 win in Dublin, before Henry’s extraordinary intervention set up William Gallas’ extra-time clinching goal for France as Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish side missed out on qualification in hugely controversial fashion.
“When you do something like that as a big player, you’re going to get the consequences and I’m sure he [Henry] hasn’t lived it down since,” added Keane.
“I’m sure it gets mentioned all the time to him.”
TV replays showed that Swedish referee Martin Hansson and his assistants had missed Henry’s handball but Ireland’s protests on and off the field fell on deaf ears, and a bizarre bid to be admitted to the finals in South Africa as the 33rd team was rejected.
However, it later emerged that the Football Association of Ireland had received a payment of five million euros – around £3.6million at the time – from Fifa on the understanding that it would not pursue the matter through the courts.
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Keane’s anger has subsided over the years but the sense of what might have been remains with him.
“Listen, it’s football. I’ve played the game for a long time, certain situations happen in games and because of the magnitude of the game and who it was against and the player, of course it was going to be huge.
“He was one of the biggest players at the time, Henry, and to do what he did… Listen, of course it was disappointing, but as a player you can’t dwell too much on the past.
“I couldn’t see it because I was obviously on the halfway line, but you can always tell by players’ reactions and Shay Given when he ran straight to the linesman, I knew there was something wrong.”
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