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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I'm not like Maradona says Henry, the mouth of God

THIERRY HENRY should not be judged in the same bracket as fellow Hand-of-God user Diego Maradona. And who says so? Erm... Thierry himself.
Today we are assailed by another avalanche of self-justification and bluster from the man who cheated to put France through to the World Cup finals in South Africa next year, courtesy of a blatant handball.
Maradona did the same for Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final against England in Mexico 23 years ago but never admitted he cheated, preferring to refer to his deft finish over Peter Shilton as "the Hand of God".
Henry apparently feels he has the Mouth of God as he attempts to wriggle out of the situation he has created for himself.
The 32-year-old Frenchman has been under pressure ever since his basketball-style move helped make the crucial goal for William Gallas in Paris last week, but as the 450,000 strong Facebook petition to have the game replayed fades in FIFA's memory, the Barcelona striker says: "I was in a situation where, whatever happened, I couldn't have won. At a certain point I thought I had done something very seriously wrong. After the game I went to a press conference to say I had touched the ball with my hand.
"That is not like Maradona or Messi (his Barcelona team-mate Lionel also scored with his hand once, perhaps the Nou Camp has an expert on hand to explain this), I could have easily avoided it and not said a word.
"But I did not run away from my responsibilities. On Friday, when everything went too far, I was really upset."
Hold on a bit Thierry, most of Ireland and the rest of the football-speaking world were upset too. With you. And it hasn't helped that the perfectly acceptable idea of a replay - agreed as "the fairest solution" by you and a million others - appears to have been firmly shelved by FIFA.
Despite yesterday's claim that he nearly quit playing for France over the incident, Henry adds: "I've always fought for Les Bleus. Like a dog. I won't let my country down."
No, Thierry, you've already done that. Last Wednesday. With your left arm.
And like Maradona, that single act will define your career.

Labels: barcelona, diego maradona, hand of God, , , , , world cup


Anonymous Marky T said...

I think you're being a bit melodramatic here Neal.
It won't 'define' his whole career. It'll be forgotten by around February. The fact this whole incident has raged on for nigh on a week speaks volumes about the media and modern sport.

Yes, he handballed it, which created a goal. But Ireland rate themselves too highly, it's not like this incident took victory out of their hands, they were only drawing after all. Robbie Keane's miss has as much to do with the result as Henry's hand flik. One incident over two games doesn't define a match.

Unfortunately a precedent for singling out individuals or individual acts in a football match/matches/season as being purely 'defining' moments was set when Lord Griffiths decided that Carlos Tevez was the entire reason West Ham managed to avoid relegation in 2007.

24 November 2009 13:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'melodramatic', well of course! It's what a good journalist does! Therefore it is his job to be melodramatic, if it wasn't it would be all facts, sometimes an opinion is what makes a story. That is of course in my humble opinion!

24 November 2009 16:54  
Blogger Neal Collins said...

Marky, what do we remember Maradona for... the handball or the great goal he scored afterwards? It's debatable. And Anonymous yes, journalists are paid to be melodramatic. Have a look at for confirmation of that!

24 November 2009 20:50  
Anonymous Marky T said...

Oh. My comment did post. Good.
I think all these replay enthusiasts are appealing for something that would ruin the game. You can't retrospectively effect a football match. What the '450,000 strong' Facebook petition are appealing for is technically the same as a Wigan fan arguing that if a free kick was given in their favour at 0-0, they'd have gone on to score and not lost 9-1.

The whole idea of using technology in football is the real issue being raised, not the retrospective punishment of infractions. FIFA, wrongly or rightly, wants to keep the sport as uniform as possible, from World Cup matches, right down to Chiltern Churches Football League matches. Of course, the fact that in the CCFL we don't have independent linesmen, let alone a fourth official, let alone microphones to link all these, makes a bit of a mockery of this view - but you can see their intention.

In regard to Maradona's defining moment, as a 9 month old baby Mexico '86 was a tournament too early for me, but a quick google search for 'Maradona + defining + moment' all agree that the the Mexico '86 tournament was the highlight of his football career - but it's split down the middle if it was the 1st or 2nd goal against England that was the pivotal one. I think that match holds a lot more water than a qualifying round, second leg match though- thus I stand by my belief that Henry wont be defined by this.

24 November 2009 22:31  

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