'He came over to us and said he cheated'


PLAYERS' REACTION:NOT EVERYONE was quite so clear about the terminology that should be applied to Thierry Henry’s role in France all important extra-time goal last night at the Stade de France but as Richard Dunne took the first few steps out of the ground some 50 minutes after the final whistle, he had no doubt whatsoever about the what the French striker had been guilty of.

“I’ve watched it back a few times and I think it’s quite blatant that we were cheated,” said a still visibly upset Aston Villa defender. “Realistically, it’s exactly what we thought might happen. The people who run the game have got exactly what they wanted.”

Dunne conceded that the Swedish referee had given the Irish a couple of minor decisions over the course of the 120 minutes but, he insisted, the key ones all went the way of the hosts with the mistakes made by the match officials for William Gallas’ goal ultimately deciding the outcome.

“It’s not a difficult thing to see and really there shouldn’t be any need for replays,” said the 30-year-old Dubliner who was a matter of feet away as the Arsenal defender forced the ball over the line.

“The goal should have been disallowed for two reasons; the linesman was in line and should have given them offside then the referee should have given a free out for the handball.

“We couldn’t believe he didn’t but when we chased after him he said that he was 100 per cent sure that he (Henry) hadn’t handled it. But then Henry came over to us himself and said he had.

“He said he hadn’t intended to, it had just happened. He’s admitted that he cheated and that we should have gone through. He didn’t apologise but he admitted it. What can you do, though? That’s the result now and they’ve gone through.”

The defender was scathing about the prospect of an official complaint getting the Irish anywhere in the coming days. “I doubt that they’d even answer the phone to the FAI in Fifa because this is exactly what they wanted.

“The World Cup is run by people who want to decide who gets there, that’s why big teams get big decisions.”

Trapattoni, he said however, was “not happy in there and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something more about it from him”.

The players, he admitted, however, have little real option but to take some very small consolation from how well they played and start looking forward to the next European Championships.

“We deserved to win tonight and we could have had another couple of goals during the 90 minutes. What happened in the end didn’t spoil our performance or take anything away from it, the referee spoiled his own performance.

“We have to be proud of our performance,” he concluded. “It will give us hope and encouragement.”

Moments later, Trapattoni’s assistant, Liam Brady described it as “a bad night for football” as he left.

“I wouldn’t call it that (cheating), I couldn’t use that word, but when it comes to the crunch the big teams do always seem to get the decisions.

“They (Fifa) wanted Portugal and France in the World Cup when they made the draw last month and that’s what’s happened.”