Republic of Ireland and Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane has blasted football’s governing bodies and believes they will be delighted to have seen France squeeze through to next summer’s World Cup at Ireland’s expense.
The boys in green were cruelly denied a place in the South Africa showpiece after William Gallas’ controversial equaliser in the first period of extra time sent the French through 2-1 on aggregate.
Former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry blatantly handled the ball in the build-up to the goal to leave Keane and his team-mates fuming at the final whistle.
And the Spurs front-man believes the likes of FIFA and UEFA got the result they had always wanted.
“The hand was so obvious, we’re disgusted,” Keane told Eurosport.
“FIFA absolutely did not want Ireland at the World Cup.
“They’re all probably clapping hands, Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result.”
Keane was shocked that referee Martin Hansson had missed the incident despite the reactions from the rest of the Irish players.
“He [Henry] nearly caught it, so it’s a bit of a killer,” he said.
“When you see the reaction of the players, Shay [Given] especially, he’s two yards away from it.
“You don’t get a reaction like that if he’s not sure it’s a handball. He almost caught it and ran into the net with it.”
The Irish skipper also criticised the decision to seed the play-offs which was seen to favour the bigger nations, including Les Blues.
“Germany had a chance of being in the [play-offs] as well. With two massive countries there’s no way in a million years is there going to be fair draw,” he added.
Despite missing out on a chance to appear at their first World Cup since 2002, Keane was pleased with the way his Ireland side had risen to the occasion.
“We created chances. We can be proud of how we played, but we failed to go through.”comments