Where: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m.
I’ve always loved Thierry Henry, star of the French side since Zinedine Zidane’s retirement. I like the rhyme in his name, which follows a step behind the rhyme in his nimble feet, now at age 33 a bit slower than in their prime a few years ago. He had 226 goals in his years with Arsenal, a club record. He was twice World Player of the Year. In 2009, he won the triple crown of football with Barcelona–the Champions League Cup, the Spanish league title, and some third cup I can’t remember.
Then game the match of November 18, 2009, at the Stade de France in Paris. France were playing Ireland in a World Cup qualifying match. They had to win. They were in third place in their qualifying group, they’d done relatively dismally up till then, at least for France, at least for qualifying play, and they were tied in goal scored against Ireland. A tie would mean they’d be out of the World Cup. The match went into extra time. Henry got a pass near goal, high. he controlled it. With his hand. TWICE, keeping it from going out of bounds. Then he crossed it to William Gallas, who scored. Ireland was out. France was in. And Henry joined Diego Maradona on football’s list of the greatest cheats.
Here, have a look:
Maradona, doped up on his own ego before crack got to his head, punched a goal in with his hand in a quarterfinal match against England, which Argentina won, 2-1.
Here it is:
That was Maradona’s first goal in the game. He scored another, far more spectacular, and almost redeeming for its beauty, which in this case touched the core of art, if not god’s hand. Check it out:
Anyway. Back to Henry. He’s sitting on the bench tonight in Cape Town. Fine. Raymond Domenech, the famed coach, will probably bring him in if France shows less than a sparkle against Uruguay. He’ll get his chance to redeem himself. But if you’re Irish, you’re likely still seeing only the red of the Tricolore. Here we go, they’re taking for field. The rest is in the live commentary below.