Thierry Henry is not giving interviews to the French press ahead of the upcoming play-off against Ukraine ... but why?
It was always going to happen, with France in a play-off for qualification to the World Cup - that infamous game against Republic of Ireland was always going to rear its head - and the phone of Thierry Henry’s agent was going to go off the chain.
Because, for those that do not remember, this is what happened in the crucial qualifier between France and Republic of Ireland in November 2009.
The winner of course qualified for the World Cup in South Africa and after defeat at Croke Park nobody gave Ireland a chance.
But they went to the Stade de France inspired, and pushed their French opposition all the way …. Until this happened:
Afterward Henry remained effusive, claiming it is the referee’s job to spot the handball and that he reacted out of instinct - needless to say he is still not a very popular character in Dublin.
But what was more stunning was the reaction in France - where he found himself criticised by the press for his apparent lack of sporting behaviour.
Obviously, with France taking on Ukraine in yet another play-off for a spot at the World Cup next summer, Henry is popular in the media at the moment - but Les Parisien confirmed today he has declined to do an interview with them, in fact he has declined to speak to any French media:
"He still has not forgiven the treatment he had received after his handball against Ireland during the qualifier play-off for World Cup 2010 in South Africa. He found that at the time the French journalists did not really support him.’’
France went on to have a miserable time in South Africa, being dumped out of a Group containing the hosts, Uruguay and Mexico in acrimonious fashion - much to the pleasure of Irish fans.
But they will like it even more if, I don’t know, let’s say Yevhen Konoplyanka handles the ball at the back post before squaring for Evgen Khacheridi to head home - and knock France out the cup.
That would be poetic justice for them.
image: © marklunch1