Nov 18, 2009

Thierry Henry gives the world one more reason to hate the French

(Just in case the thousands of others weren't doing it for you).
Thierry Henry's despicable handball in today's deciding World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland was probably the biggest soccer fraud since Diego Maradona's infamous "hand of God" act in 1986. The stakes, then as now, are massive: a quarterfinals berth at the World Cup then, a spot in next year's South Africa tourney now. Then and now the handball in question led to the goal that would be decisive in the match. Both times, the cheater's excuse was pathetic. At least Maradona's "hand of God" line was somewhat amusing only because it showed just what an arrogant punk he truly was. Henry's excuse: "I'm not the referee." That's not only weak, it also shows complete contempt for the game and for the principle of justice.

I mean right Thierry, you're not the referee. You're not a cop either, but surely you see the harm in stealing somebody else's property? Or collaborating with a fascist government that invaded your country?

Here's the thing though: In 1986 we all knew Maradona was a creep. He had already been fined for cocaine use and linked to the Neapolitan mafia. Thierry Henry's image, on the other hand, was pretty much squeaky clean prior to tonight. In 2006, he was hailed a role model for children by none other than UNICEF for God' s sake. What are UNICEF going to say now? Hey kids, be a cheater like this guy? You're not the referee?

Henry has been a marketer's dream: Charismatic in several languages, handsome and supremely talented. No wonder he ended up as the poster boy for so many corporations and their products.

And there you have it. Money talks. The monetary difference between France and Ireland participating in the World Cup is close to $2 billion in revenues. FIFA is clearly corrupt so it isn't that big of a leap to say this thing reaches all the way up to Sepp Blatter's shiny little office in Zurich. Sadly, there is little justice in soccer. Argentina went on to win the 1986 World Cup. West Germany and Austria blatantly fixed a match at the 1982 World Cup with virtually no repercussions. There are many other examples. So don't expect France to suffer any kind of karmic comeuppance in South Africa next summer. With our luck they'll end up winning the whole tournament.

Photo taken from without permission.


  1. One needn't hate the French to be dismayed by Henry's hand-ball and the outcome of the match.

    Henry's reputation is now permanently defined by this match; and the game itself suffers further.

  2. a real shame--especially if Henry ends up coming to play in New York after the World Cup!

  3. Come on guys, it's not like he viciously headbutted anyone!

  4. honestly, I don't think Zidane's headbutt was anywhere near as bad as this. That was just him losing his cool in the moment. And let's face it: Materazzi a) deserved it and b) made a meal out of it by going down like he was shot. Also, Zidane was sent off. France lost the match. Justice, at least in that sense, was served.

    Henry's move was dishonest, conniving and it went unpunished.

  5. I think we should have a competition to see who the biggest loosers are between Henry, the Referree or FIFA. For pure corruption, Fifa clearly win, but close call for the looser battle.

    I hope the French suffer as much bad luck as they possibly for the forseable future in every discipline.....cheaters !

    Hey Platini, maybe you'll allow France and the big nations to take drugs for the next world cup to give them that extra boost and ensure they all qualify.

  6. As a Scotland fan, I feel bad for the Irish. So much for FIFA Fair Play - between the 'seeded' (ie rigged) play-off draw and last night's blatant handball, you can't help but conclude that FIFA is desperate to get the big nations through to the finals, by fair means or foul. Remember the dodgy free-kick that Italy were outrageously awarded against Scotland in the last minute of their November 2007 Euro qualifying match? see here: I was reminded of that last night.

  7. Italy also benefited from a phantom penalty call in the waning minutes of their World Cup match with Australia three years ago. Remember that? There is ample evidence to support the fact (yes, fact) that FIFA is corrupt. What sets this most recent example apart is a) its egregiousness and b) the fact that it was pulled by one of the most recognizable names in the sport.

  8. This article is nothing short of bull.

    Henry is a legend, there is no doubt about that. I'm not going to blame Henry, I'm blaming FIFA, this isn't the first time that someone cheated to get into the World Cup, not the first time that someone cheated to win a football match, then why is everyone jumping on Henry? FIFA should have incorporated video replay by now, they didn't and these kind of things will continue to happen in Football.

  9. people are jumping on Henry because they expected better and because this behavior is shameful--especially from somebody who is quite literally supposed to be a role model for kids.

    Okay, if they had video replay he would have been caught and presumably the situation would have been rectified. Great, but that doesn't mean cheating is an acceptable form of behavior. I mean if the island of Manhattan had a giant shield around it, terrorists wouldn't have been able to fly airplanes into our buildings. That doesn't mean people are free to go around hijacking planes on suicide missions does it?

  10. Henrys assertion that it was up to the ref to spot his cheating should be a timly reminder to his wife/girlfriend/boyfriend(well who knows)to be on your guard. The next time he “drops his hand” somewhere he shouldnt it will be your responsibility to catch him, after all once a cheat!!!!!