Jun 182010

After a 2-0 defeat to Mexico tonight, France have become the first big team to come within touching distance of elimination. A Uruguay-Mexico carve-up in the final group games would see both through – a draw sees Uruguay top the group with Mexico second, no matter what France do to South Africa.

It was dramatic, it was exciting and frankly, it was deserved – Mexico were excellent, France poor. Given how much we love to see the big nations brought down a peg, it should have been highly enjoyable.

But it wasn’t, thanks to the commentators and the reactive media (particularly a few sanctimonious ones on Twitter) taking the opportunity to mention that handball in that playoff match every minute of the game, as if France’s loss was more of a victory for Ireland than it was for Mexico.

I don’t pretend to know the entire Irish population. But while those I do were pretty irritated by Henry’s handball at the time, they soon got over it. They certainly put it behind them quicker than the English media, led by a few individuals calling for Henry to be banned for the tournament, France to be thrown out, and other ludicrous and overblown suggestions.

Tonight was a huge win for Mexico. A draw would have left them needing to beat a flying Uruguay, but instead they proved the talent they have in the squad and are on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages. They should have been the stars, yet inexplicably, too many chose to focus on the ‘karma’ of the situation and how delighted Ireland would be, despite a) as far as I can see, the Irish don’t care anymore and b) Henry didn’t even feature in the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt for Ireland at the time, and if some still harbour ill feeling towards Henry, and France in general, then maybe they will have enjoyed tonight a little more than most. But the impression I get is that the majority hold no such grudge, so this continued campaign of vitriol is not representative of their feelings in any way.

The more the written press continue this faux holier than thou attitude on behalf of a nation that do not desire or require their ‘support’, the more they irritate me. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

For the record, I have a sneaky suspicion France will still go through. Mexico will fancy their chances of beating Uruguay to top the group, therefore avoiding Argentina in the second round, and that would open the door to France, provided they can hammer a demoralised South Africa. Don’t write them off just yet.

As for the Arsenal representatives, no-one covered themselves in glory. The entire French team was unimpressive, while at the other end Vela missed a great chance before going off with a hamstring injury. In earlier matches, Cesc inexplicably remained on the bench while his teammates lost to Switzerland, and Eboue was part of an Ivory Coast defence untroubled by Portugal.

On the plus side, the entertainment level of the tournament has picked up after a slow and cagey start – Argentina demolished South Korea today, and teams are certainly playing with a freedom missing in the early days.

Betting Update

After a bad day yesterday – three out of three bets failed to come in – Argentina’s big win over South Korea and Greece’s victory over Nigeria boosted the profits once more. Part of me wishes I was staking more than a pound on each bet…

I will continue to place a bet on each match in the tournament, adding some random ones here and there, so keep checking the tracker to the right to see how it is going.

Other Arsenal news

The fixture list is out for the 2010/11 season and we start with a belter – a trip to Anfield to face a Liverpool side hoping to feel the effect of a new manager. Our next crunch game is also away – Chelsea on October 2.

November, often a bad month, will again be tricky – Everton (away), Villa (away) and Spurs (home) provide plenty of challenges, especially surrounded by Champions League fixtures. We complete the trio of away games against the Big Four before Christmas.

If we are in contention at Christmas, having played Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Everton, City and Villa away, we are in with a real shout.

But that is for another time – I have to be honest and say that I struggle to get excited about the season when it is so far away. When the players start training again, and we play our first pre-season match, everything will change.

Before then, we have the rest of the World Cup. And I love it, at least when the TV is muted.

  30 Responses to “France’s defeat had nothing to do with Ireland”


    • thankyou mexico ot that i hold a grudge towards france it was quick thinking ffrom henry to keep the ball in play and knock it on to gallas and score u have to admire that at the same time the respect we irish had for henry is all but gone he will always be known as a cheat and not the legend we had him down to be.any how its all over n done with bar the shouting but im sure mexico had an extra 4 million people supporting them last night .well done mexico and thankyou again.yours arsenal fan cheers ccv

    • its quite simple. the french know they should not really be there.
      so its very difficult for them give everything and concentrate on
      winning the competition.

  2. I hate Myles Palmer.That guy annoys me too much.The coward hasn’t even got a comment section.

    He knows most of what he says is bullshit.F**k him.

  3. I think France are a lost cause. The whole country and their press are criticising them.

  4. Look mate my fav player was Henry but I’ll say this as an Irishman watching the game with other Irish people, we haven’t forgotten it and never will… the France they don’t want to be there, they are in fighting and don’t care, where as the Irish would die for it! Think about that… really for a moment.. for them the the world cup is nothing? The height of your playing ability… is nothing?
    Come on?
    No Heart!
    Let go of Henry as the Saint… as amazing as he was for us, he’s a cheat, and all you try to big up comes back to haunt you as a lack of clarity on yourself!
    The French won’t go through no unity and that is what playing for your nation is all about! Really… that’s no right.
    Wake up!
    France are done!

    • I agree with the groan a 100 percent , As an Irish man and arsenal fan I have gotten over it , at the time it was hard to take and all the usual accusations came to my head straight away ( cheat , throw them out , replay ) but logically it was the linesmen and referee who are to blame , if Robbie keane had of did what henry did it would have been put down as instinct and we would have been over the moon , what gets up my goat is the English media who think they can speak on my behalf and tell the world that we were cheated and keep harping on about it , I am well over it .
      This situation keeps the English amused , they have their hand of god and theyu think they are doing us a favour ( we have been there , we will look after you ) pure and utter B***ox . get over it or you will end up like a lot of English men and media , still going out about been cheated , and finally who is to say we would have won the penalty’s . get over it .

      • alan, you started your comment so very well, pointing out good points like if it was the linesman and refs fault that they never saw the incident, like if it other way round no one would off cared bout the french,and it time to get over it. then like a true
        paddy you spoil it by then going on about the english ,typical paddy trying to find away to blame the english for something .
        as you say get over it,it’s the irish with the problem and still harping on about henry, not one irish man said that with all the chances ireland had they should off won before the incident.
        i agree ireland would been far better then france in world cup
        but as you know these incidents happen in life .
        again good comment but please don’t turn it round for your benefit to blame the english have a good one up the gunners

    • I still hold Henry is huge regard because of his time at Arsenal, but I think we all know his legs have gone. Domenech seems to have finally realised it (hence him not coming off the bench) but far too late. Benzema might have had a poor season, but he would have carried more of a threat than last night’s team.

      • well said pete, henry been finished for some time ,before leaving arsenal he was looseing his edge not running for the ball,for instance.
        but domenech has been a bad manager for france (though in fairness he did have to replace the brilliant worldcup winning squad after age caught up with them),he rubs players up the wrong way and fellow managers,how many times he and wenger fall out.
        the trouble is this, france now need amanager and wenger will be high on thier thier list, and we arsenal fans have to worry will wenger think it time to step down at arsenal and take over france and re build for the euros and next world cup. he’ll get better support then he gets from arsenal fans who continue to moan about his tactics

  5. I’m glad you realise that the whole Irish population isn’t completely self-absorbed in this situation, the Irish do recognise what a win this is for Mexico and their first time beating France, it’s a brilliant day for Mexico/Mexicans, however you still have to get that even me who has definitely got over the handball was still delighted and still found tonight somewhat of a consolation. But you are right the media don’t portray it that way and they are taking the glory away from Mexico in a way.

  6. Dude, we love watching France get defeated, the handball thing has become one big fun joke, there’s no serious grudge here. But we don’t have a team in the world cup so we only have France and England’s opposition to cheer on. We love watching England lose too by the way, not because of any grudge, but because we have all the English TV channels here so we have to suffer the hype, still it will be fun once this world cup is over and Rooney yet again will not have scored a single goal. Here’s to another penalty shoot out!

    Watching matches is more fun when you have a vested ineterest in watching a team lose.

    Go on Mexico, well done! Come on Algeria!

    • i hope england go on to win the world cup and me an irish man the fact is there our closest neighbours we watch them play week in week out in the premiership the only reason i wouldnt like to see england win it is after 44 year they still harp on about the poxy 66 world cup they sound like my girlfriend in the ear all the fucking time after a while you get fucking sick of it thats the only reason i wouldnt like to see england win it

    • Agreed entirely (apart from the supporting English opposition, I am English after all) – I love watching teams brought down a peg. I like to think that is why people enjoyed watching France lose last night, as opposed to any grudge over the handball. It is simply fun to watch France, Germany, Spain etc come up against a ‘lesser’ nation and lose.

      That’s why we loved Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

  7. no irish people DO care! screw france!

  8. “Mexico will fancy their chances of beating Uruguay to top the group, therefore avoiding Argentina in the second round, and that would open the door to France”
    It’s not sure france can beat south africa… Why ?
    Because : Govou is physicly dead, Anelka is never on his place (AC), Henry is on the bench, Gourcuff has been exile from team by Ribery, Gallas sleep, Evra can’t run enough…and the Coach, Domenech, control anything.

    French people waiting for a REAL football team since 6 years… A team with spirit, with open game, with a skilled coach and skilled federation leaders (M. Escalette, president of french football federation, is an very old man more occupied by politics stuffs and copious dinners than football).
    A new coach will take care the french team after the world cup (Laurent Blanc)… i hope he will entire rebuild a team, with young blood.

    Our qualification vs Ireland was a shame… Now it’s a humiliation. The situation cannot be worst.

    • I agree that the main obstacle for French qualification is that they may not beat South Africa, as opposed to any carve-up between Mexico and Uruguay. I really don’t think those two will play for a draw – coming top of the group carries too much reward.

      What works in France’s favour is that they cannot be cagey. Whatever happens, they need goals, and an early one could destroy South Africa’s confidence.

  9. France’s manager should be off within 24 hours !!!!!!!
    He doesn’t select players wisely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Where is Nasri,he should have been in southafrica!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Speaking as one of the irish I believe that you have misjudged the extent of the damage done by that cheating handball on relations generally between the two nations.
    Sarcozy has already cancelled a trip to Ireland in the wake of it for fear of the bad public reception and I was in a sea of green shirts last nite chhering on Mexico in a local bar that erupted when the boys in green scored.
    comments like “france are in trouble and need sombody to give them a hand….bring on Henry” were rife.
    Every time a french player recieved a pass there was amazing vitriol spewed at them and evry time they were fouled or made a mistake there were deafening cheers.
    ALL club affiliations were put aside.

    Come on Bufana Bufana and complete their humiliation. They deserve nothing less

    • Fair enough – enjoy their troubles.

      But would you agree that the English media trying to ‘stand up for you’ is annoying and patronising? I don’t see why they think you need their help.

  11. JUSTICE! Well done Mexico, as for Ireland, its heads up and concentrate on The Euro 2012! We will do it!

  12. If what Henry did is a problem then its a problem for the Irish.It is absolutely nothing to do with us English as Ireland is a foreign country.If the same incident had happened in say the Russia Slovakia game then it would have barely got a mention here.Could somebody explain to me the media obsession in this country with Ireland.If it is a language thing then why dont we get the same coverage of say Australia or the United States.I couldnt care less what happened to Ireland and would suggest that France would have qualified even without this one incident in a game of 90 minutes.

  13. the ONLY way france can get through is if mexico beat uruguay and france creat a 5 goal swingin goal difference over uruguay. If mexico win and france win, regardless of goal difference mexico go through as they beat france

  14. oh, and as and irishman, i dont hold a massive grudge, but that doesnt mean that im not THRILLED that mexico as good as knocked out france. In fact mexico are now “my new team” in the world cup! Ironic tho isnt it that france get knocked out by a team that wears green and theyre fans sing Olé!

  15. We was robbed. Now, if I can shift “we” from meaning “the U.S.” to meaning “Arsenal”… If we needed any more proof that the FA hate us, it’s that they scheduled Blackpool to come to us in the summer, instead of the other way around. We have to go to Blackpool in April? You ever been to a beach town in April? If Blackpool is anything like Atlantic City, I don’t recommend it.

  16. Too many prima donnas in the French team who think they know better?

  17. Mexiko kicked France ass, punishment for France then Anelka out

  18. So Pete, you don’t think it was some kind of ‘Karma’ just that France are crap.

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