Statements from Keane and Henry

 

France captain Thierry Henry has said a replay would be the "fairest option" and his Irish counterpart Robbie Keane has welcomed his "courage".

Robbie Keane statement

“On behalf of the Republic of Ireland players, I would like to thank Thierry Henry for his statement this afternoon that in his opinion a replay would be the fairest option.

“As captain of the French team, to make such a statement took courage and honour, and all of us recognise that.

“As captain of the Republic of Ireland team, I would also be happy for a replay to happen in the interest of fair play so that whichever team qualifies, can do so with their heads held high.

“We can only hope that the French Football Federation might accept the wishes of both captains in the best interests of the game.”

Thierry Henry statement

“I have said at the time and I will say again that yes I handled the ball. I am not a cheat and never have been.

“It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.

“As a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow the pace of the ball down 100 times to be able to make a conscious decision.

“People are viewing a slow motion version of what happened and not what I or any other footballer faces in the game.

“If people look at it in full speed you will see that it was an instinctive reaction.

“It is impossible to be anything other than that. I have never denied that the ball was controlled with my hand. I told the Irish players, the referee and the media this after the game.

“Naturally I feel embarrassed at the way that we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.

“Of course the fairest solution would be to replay the game but it is not in my control.

“There is little more I can do apart from admit that the ball had contact with my hand leading up to our equalising goal and I feel very sorry for the Irish.”