Soccer star Thierry Henry became the villain of Dublin on Wednesday.Ahh, but it gets even more bizarre...
In the Irish national soccer team's most important game since October 2005, the Boys in Green saw their World Cup hopes dashed when the prolific French striker used his hand to control the ball near the goal -- not once but twice.
The ball appeared as if it might go out of bounds, but Henry palmed the ball to his feet and then flicked it with his right foot to former Arsenal teammate William Gallas, who buried a header and stamped France's ticket to the 2010 World Cup.
Irish goalkeeper Shay Given ran to the referee, pleading emphatically that Henry had cheated. Such cries -- from players, fans, even from the Irish justice minister -- only grew louder after the game.
"I will be honest. It was a handball, but I am not the referee," Henry said after the match at Stade de France in Paris.
Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern entered the fray Thursday, saying in a statement that he was petitioning Ireland's governing soccer body to demand a rematch.You understand of course European countries have actually gone to war over less within the last 1200 years or so. Still, the ministerial level? Be interesting to see how this goes.
For the uninitiated, this is akin to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the NFL make the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins play again because of a disputed fumble in the end zone.
Ahern conceded that his chances were slim: "They probably won't grant it, as we are minnows in world football, but let's put them on the spot. It's the least we owe the thousands of devastated young fans around the country. Otherwise, if that result remains, it reinforces the view that if you cheat, you will win."
Don't get to use the Non-American Stupidity tag very often, but...