Under-fire Henry not afraid to face Paris crowd

CLAIREFONTAINE - Thierry Henry, heavily criticised by French fans for his controversial handball in a World Cup playoff, said he was not worried about the reception he receives when France host Spain on Wednesday.

The France captain caused a furore with blatant handball in the play-off second-leg against Ireland in November. Henry handled the ball in the build-up to William Gallas's equaliser that gave France a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 aggregate win.

"No fear at all," Henry replied on Tuesday when asked about his feelings about returning to the Stade de France for France's first match since the Ireland controversy.

"This game is not about reconciliation (with French fans), we just want to know where we stand against one of the best teams in the world.

"Unfortunately, I knew what would happen afterwards but it hasn't changed me. It just allowed me to see the real nature of some."

Henry, who often plays as a left winger for France, also said he sometimes disagreed with coach Raymond Domenech about tactics.

"I've already said that a thousand times before but I'd rather play up front," Henry, France's all-time top scorer with 51 goals, said.

"(Franck Ribery) would rather play on the left, I'd rather play up front but the coach makes the decisions even though we don't always agree."

Asked about Ribery and Henry's positions against Spain, Domenech gave a trademark answer: "Everything is possible."