Ukraine-Greece liveblog

It’s international break and I’ll be watching the Ukraine-Greece match on ESPN2, which means a liveblog for you. You’re such a lucky fool. Check below the liveblog for some Barça-related news.

Gaby Milito played 45 minutes in a friendly against Bolivian team with the world’s most original name: Bolivar. This was his first match for FCB in 569 days, which is a very long time. Welcome back, Gaby!

The entire starting lineup was Pinto, Maxwell, Milito, Márquez, Bojan, Pedro, Jeffren, Ilie, Armando, Oriol Romeu, Palau. The last 2 in that list are from the Juvenile section of the club and the two prior to that (Ilie and Armando) are from Barça Atlètic. The match ended 4-1 with goals from Márquez and substitutes Gio and Benja (2), both of whom are from the Juvenile section.

Valdes wants to face off against Crynaldo in the Clásico because he wants to beat the best. It’s always good to hear that sort of thing from a player, even if it’s a bit forced. Like I’ve said before, RM are going to have to bring it and bring it something nasty in order to beat us, no matter the injuries/absences on either side. This is the real deal and it’s a week and a half away.

-Samuel Eto’o is on his way back to the Camp Nou next Tuesday and he says he’s prepared despite having received a slight injury on international duty. He played in Cameroon’s last match (and scored) so I’m sure he’ll be there in Barcelona come that most absurd of nights, where I hate on Samu and wish him nothing but the worst luck.

La Roja returns to the scene of their Euro2008 victory when they play a friendly against Austria this afternoon. Let’s hope that our boys get some rest, what with the Athletic match coming so soon afterward.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

167 Comments

  1. Hilal
    November 18, 2009

    //www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11833_5702795,00.html

    I know a lot of ppl remain unconvinced, but I always thought Robinho was a really gifted player who only needed the right club and I think we can be that club. Hope we get him.

    • November 18, 2009

      i know a lot of people will disagree, but I totally agree with you

      • Tutomate
        November 18, 2009

        I agree that many will dis agree because I disagree. For that kind of money get Villa.

        • drew
          November 18, 2009

          i think we will go for villa in the summer, but we cant in january.
          thats why we only want robinho on loan and not full purchase.
          just my thoughts

          • Hilal
            November 18, 2009

            Exactlty what Drew said. Of course i would take Villa over Robinho any day, BUT firstly he is not available till the summer and second he will cost more than Robinho. We could probably get Robinho for about 35, whereas we know from experience that Villa wont be sold for less than 45, maybe 50. Especially if the likes of Chelsea or Utd are in the picture. We all know how greedy the Valencia pres can be otherwise we would probably already have Villa. Man City dont need money so if Robinho really wants to leave and they can get an able replacement I doubt they will be too fussy about how much he is sold for. In fact I could actually see them selling him for less than what they paid. All that being said I do not think we will buy him in Jan, if anything we will get him on loan and see how things go. If, as i suspect, he becomes the player that he really should be then we will buy him in the summer. The risk there of course is that if he has an amazing few months playing for us his price will go up.

          • November 19, 2009

            as much as I would love to see Villa in blaugrana I just don’t see it happening, the stubbornness of Valencia’s front office, and the price tag they are going to slap on him (at least 45 million euro if not more), I just don’t see Barca negotiating with that. But hey, I would love to be wrong and have Spain’s 2nd (soon to be first) all time international goal scorer on our side. But I see no problem with pay 3mil for a 6 month loan on Robinho, nothing to lose.

  2. nic
    November 18, 2009

    that motherfucker seluk,again speaking about yaya will leave for chelsea or manU in the next summer,just after yaya saying his future is with barca…
    does anybody want to shoot that motherfucker?

  3. jordi
    November 18, 2009

    Villa is now 9 goals away from raul’s record

  4. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    Whos watching France – Ireland? Ireland are winning 1-0, good work by Duff, terrible marking by France…aie aie aie!

  5. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    Half time 1-0 for Ireland. Ok, so:
    France haven’t been playing as a team since a goal and they were shit before the goal.
    Aloue Diarra fumbles too much with the ball! France need more players comfortable with the ball at their feet, Evra and Lass are good examples of these. Toulalan’s holding skills are needed.
    Lloris and Sagna are playing well. Gignac needs to be more attentive!

  6. ElShowDeJason
    November 18, 2009

    Ugh… Puyol and Pique still on the field for Spain.

    Busi is on, but i think thats a good thing…

  7. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    Lilian Thuram, Zidane and Laurent Blanc are all at the stadium watching the match!

    • eklavya
      November 18, 2009

      I meant Barthez not laurent blanc.

  8. lovelymofo
    November 18, 2009

    Navas is kicking ass and taking names. I’m so glad he’s worked through his anxiety issues to participate.

  9. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    HOOLY SHIT FRANCE SAVED BY LLORIS!!!!! Crazy match!

  10. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    France are getting into the rythm now…

  11. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    OOOOOOOOOOOO KEANE ALMOST SCORED AGAIN!! Mama mia!!!

    • lovelymofo
      November 18, 2009

      Not shocked that he missed that tho.

  12. jordi
    November 18, 2009

    luckily for france keane just failed to score

    • cliveee
      November 19, 2009

      because Domenech the bitch finds his horoscope does not match with Benz all too suddenly.

  13. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    Lass almost killed france there…the commentator screamed ”NOOOON” LOL

  14. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    Ok france are going into extra time!

    • Annie
      November 18, 2009

      Thanks for the updates eklavya, I’m in class and can’t watch the match. Keep them coming 🙂

  15. Ciaran
    November 18, 2009

    Ireland! Ireland! Ireland!
    Part of me wants to see France at the World Cup because of the players they have but I’m Irish so fuck em.
    At least if they don’t make it Domenech will get the boot, which long term, is better for France anyhoo…

  16. Kxevin
    November 18, 2009

    Extra time, Henry still playing. Boy, he’s going to be daisy fresh for Inter. No way he plays against Bilbao.

    • Ciaran
      November 18, 2009

      I’m right saying that you’re a France fan Kxevin?

      • eklavya
        November 18, 2009

        Kevin! Are you watching the match?? I am!! Crazy one!

    • Corrine
      November 18, 2009

      PS: greece going to the world cup is a fucking disgrace!!!

      • Corrine
        November 18, 2009

        oops that wasn’t supposed to be a reply to kxev

      • RobertS
        November 20, 2009

        Right you are. “Win at all costs” mentality is rubbish, whether it’s playing for the counterstrike (or hoping for penalty kicks), or diving in the box, or handballs. I’m Ukrainian, but even if I weren’t I’d hate to see such negative football be rewarded. By playing 5 defenders, Rehhagel prompts opponents to play down to Greece’s poor talent level – which Mikhailichenko did not do, hence we will not go to SA next summer (of course, poor finishing on our side had a lot to do with that). I hope seeded team in whatever group Greece draws is not France (which lacks coaching brains) or South Africa (which lacks talent), as all others will take them apart; open question whether or not teams in pots made up of Asian, African and North & South American teams (which will round out groups) have paid enough attention to aptly combat Rehhagel’s anti-football.

  17. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    WTF!????!?? Anelka!!!!!!! Should have scored that!!! no penalty!

  18. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    gOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLL!!!!!!

    • Ciaran
      November 18, 2009

      off side as well.
      Fucking Henry Cunt

      • Ciaran
        November 18, 2009

        Cheating faget Henry.
        I hope he scores an own goal to balance it.
        Unbelievable cheating from one of the best role models in world football

  19. Kxevin
    November 18, 2009

    Titiiiiiiii! gALLAS! AUUUUGGGGH!!!!

  20. lovelymofo
    November 18, 2009

    I was confused for a minute, didn’t know if they had allowed the goal to stand.

  21. Kxevin
    November 18, 2009

    “Hand of God.” Ireland is justified in being vexed.

  22. Tajh
    November 18, 2009

    HAND OF GOD TO SEND THEM THROUGH!!! just classic..

  23. Ciaran
    November 18, 2009

    Henry should be banned from playing in the World Cup for that. They do not deserve to go through on a play like that.

    • November 18, 2009

      *cough* Pique, Chelsea, champions league semi-finals *cough*

      • Ciaran
        November 18, 2009

        Ball to hand for Pique. Henry controlled it.

          • tyler
            November 19, 2009

            All I’m saying is missed calls are such an integral part of football history, such as Pique’s, or Ballack’s, or even the “Hand of God”. You can’t call Henry a cheat and Maradona a hero for doing the same exact thing. If it were me, and I’m Henry playing for perhaps my last World Cup ever, yeah I’m going to handball the hell out of that sh*t and hope a ref doesn’t see me. And if you wouldn’t do the same, well I guess that’s why we’re on a forum right now, and he’s going to play in the World Cup come June.

    • ElShowDeJason
      November 18, 2009

      agreed. That was absolutely shameful.

      • Alexinho
        November 18, 2009

        Poor Ireland. They always get screwed in clutch situations by bad calls.

  24. Andrew M.
    November 18, 2009

    yeah i was going to call henry out as a cheat but then again i can think of many handballs that have gone our way….

  25. Tajh
    November 18, 2009

    Ok yes its cheating but when playing for your country with everything on the line i can totally understand it….Its the Ref who let it stand btw.

  26. soccerchick
    November 18, 2009

    SLOVENIA is going to WC!! Beat Russia 1:0 (Dedic 44′)
    Quite surprising!!

  27. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    FRANCE QUALIFIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. lovelymofo
    November 18, 2009

    Well, they qualified. But I doubt they’ll do well. Especially with that loony coach they have.

  29. ElShowDeJason
    November 18, 2009

    Fuck you Martin Hansson

    you single HANDEDLY screwed Ireland out of their deserved qualification.

    and Henry… you cheating bastard… i hate the French National team so fucking much…

    • eklavya
      November 18, 2009

      hahaha all these comments are making me laugh somehow 😀

  30. eklavya
    November 18, 2009

    OMG even Sarkozy is there LOL!!

  31. drew
    November 18, 2009

    why is it so easy to hate them!?!?

    • Kxevin
      November 18, 2009

      Because of those cool-ass shirts.

      • ElShowDeJason
        November 18, 2009

        True that. Those France Jerseys are pretty sweet…

        • Eklavya
          November 19, 2009

          Yeah but nothing beats Russia’s away jerseys! 😀

  32. Vj
    November 18, 2009

    Wow.. someone shouted hand.. I could hear it even in India 😛 ..

    France celebrate as though they have won the Cup..

  33. Vj
    November 18, 2009

    So much angst! Have to admit, this is how some Chelsea fans felt..

  34. Jim
    November 18, 2009

    More worryingly for us I thought Henry looked awful. I’m beginning to wonder if he can hold down a place for another season.

    Benzema is also rested and has a lot to prove.

    • stowe
      November 19, 2009

      he was playing that crazy coaches system. he will look better in the beauty of pep’s system

  35. jordi
    November 18, 2009

    Blobbie Keane should have scored more than 1 of his hat-full of chances and it wouldnt have come to this.

  36. john
    November 18, 2009

    That’s got to be one of the more shockingly obvious, shameful, ref-should-go-into-hiding-and/or-be-investigated, non-called handballs. No comparing it to Pique v. Chelsea. Obviously, intentionally contacted and controled and then continued to play the ball. That he was offside before the blatantly intentional, red-cardable foul is almost (but not quite) beside the point. Henry just became eminently more hate-able, in a world wide way (excepting, of course, France).

  37. Andrew
    November 18, 2009

    I will rather see the more talented French team in the WC. It is that simple. I remember the last French team in 2006 at the WC that was also coached by Domenech. They were as clueless as this team. But the players got it together with Zidane directing matters, they came within a whisker of winning the cup. That is what a team with talent is capable of doing. Yes, they are playing terribly right now. But this is a team that is capable of winning in spite of Domenech. When Ribery is back from injury, with players like Benzema , Henry and Anelka, they can compete with any team out there. Writing France out because they are not performing well at the moment is foolish, as is writing Argentina out for that matter.

    Henry did not cheat, it is the ref’s responsiblity to catch these things. And you can’t blame the ref either,there were many bodies in the way. Blame FIFA, not the ref.

    • john
      November 18, 2009

      Um, but Henry DID cheat. Yes, ref’s job to punish him, but there’s no denying his intentional and game deciding infraction. I don’t hate France, I’d even rather them go than Ireland (sorry Ciaran). But there’s no denying that Henry intentionally broke one of the most fundamental rules of football and that France are now going to the world cup based on the direct result of that.

      • Andrew
        November 18, 2009

        Yes, I know Henry broke the rules. But fouling a player and getting away with it is also breaking the rules.

  38. Kxevin
    November 18, 2009

    I will grant the hand ball, but Henry was on. The replays showed that.

    Look, players will try any, all and everything. Messi “hand of God-ed” a goal in last year, and nobody said boo. If the ref doesn’t call it, what’s Henry supposed to do? Wave off the goal himself?

    Not sure why the France hate. Henry and Abidal are ours.

    • ElShowDeJason
      November 18, 2009

      it has very little to do with who is on there. I love Messi, but hate the Argentine national team, and would have loved if they didn’t qualify.

      same with Henry and Abidal. I love it when they play for us, but when they have their France jerseys on, It doesn’t make me like the team.

      The fact that Henry would cheat shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the the way they eliminated Spain in the last World Cup. Puyol is covering Henry, and preventing him from getting to a longball, and as soon as Puyol gets close enough, Henry bundles himself to the ground as if he had been sniped. The falsely awarded freekick lead to the only goal of the match.

      • UAI
        November 18, 2009

        “lead to the only goal of the match”. That match ended 3-1. A falsely recalled big “detail” like that might make you revise the remaining finer details in your narrative of events

    • Kari
      November 18, 2009

      Spoken like a true France supporter 😛

      I don’t really support either France or Ireland but methinks the issue here is the intention. I didn’t see it (but will soon see it everywhere), but from what I read, Henry INTENTIONAlLY controls the ball, and continues to play it. He knew what he was doing and the consequences.

      You could argue to ref didn’t call it, and shame on him, but the fact that the full intention was there, and CONTROLLING the ball, and continuing to play it regardless, knowing what is one the line is vexing. France supporters and Henry will be like, “phew, we’re through! Who cares how we did it. Yeah…it wasn’t REALLY the right thing to do…but the circumstances y’know…”. That’s a piss off for Ireland supporters and players who wanted to qualify for the WC for the first time in a long time (or ever). They were just as desperate, but you didn’t see THEM attempting to handball it.

      And it wasn’t one of those quick ‘what the hell’ moments either. It was, from what I read, planned and executed (and how!) Not to mention, that was the goal that knocked out Ireland. Talk about piss off.

      But meh. In the end, you really need luck to go through. We had a lot of that against Chelsea and France got it against Ireland. Does that mean they’ll go on to win the WC. Who knows. Karma might make it so that we see a repeat of ’02. And with Dumbenech, karma fancies its chances.

      Anyways, at least this means that Henry will have nothing to blame if he continues his march to see how much newspaper space he can cover due to his crappiness.

      • jordi
        November 18, 2009

        It happened pretty fast, the second touch was probably intentional but its not like the ball was in the air for ages given him the time to think, yes, im definitely going to catch this one.He probably could apologise though.

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPjvKlxX7sM&feature=player_embedded

        • Kari
          November 18, 2009

          Whoa, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Musta stumbled on an Irish/Ireland-biased site. Thanks for the link jordi.

          I guess it was kinda one of those quick ‘what the hell’ moments. But the problem I have is in the slow-mo, when it initially hit his hand at 0:13, he took another touch, keeping it in the air. If you’re comparing it to Messi, a) it was way back against Epanyol in 2007, not last year, b) we didn’t win the match (it ended 2-2)) c) it was ONE quick motion.

          I’m not REALLY defending it (but it WAS against Espanyol…), but they’re not all that similar.

          Anywayz, what’ll also shape this argument is if Henry is man enough to admit it. I think his statement’ll go something like this, “I wasn’t really aware it hit my hand/ it wasn’t intentional. Anyway, it’s not like I score a goal with my hand, I just put it into a goal-scoring position where it could have been defended or a team-mate could have score. The latter happend.

    • john
      November 18, 2009

      ‘If the ref doesn’t call it, what’s Henry supposed to do? Wave off the goal himself?’

      Henry is supposed to refrain from intentionally handling the ball and then playing it through to Gallas. He got excited and impulse got the better of him? Then yes, in fact, I would greatly respect a player who would admit to it and at least bring it to the ref’s attention. I remember watching a match where an attacking player tripped in the box and the ref called a penalty. Not only did the player dispute the ref’s call, but intentionally sent the penalty kick wayward when the ref insisted. It might seem ludicrous to hold professional athletes to these standards, but why shouldn’t we?

      p.s. I found both Maradona and Messi’s goals despicable as well.

    • November 18, 2009

      Right, I referenced the Messi hand of god goal against Espanyol in a personal email about this. If YOU were in Henry’s position, what would you do? Not put out your hand? Not celebrate the goal? If you say you would gladly give up a place in the World Cup for “fair play” you’re full of shit. Period. Cause you wouldn’t and Henry didn’t.

      I’m not saying what he did was right, but in a way, it’s the same question as diving. Ngog was guilty of diving against Birmingham City, but it got his team a crucial point so I don’t think he’s worried about the headlines. Neither is Henry. And while that’s bad, it’s only human nature to try to win. I wanted Ireland to win, to be honest, but what Henry did wasn’t caught by the ref and that’s 1) bad of Henry for doing it and 2) bad of the ref for not enforcing the rules. But it’s not something you wouldn’t do and I think that’s an important point.

      Anyone who claims Henry is a unconscionable cheat is a liar. I claim that outright and you can dispute it, but I believe it and will always believe it. He’s a cheat, sure, but he’s a cheat like you and I would be cheats if we could qualify for the World Cup.

    • BA
      November 18, 2009

      Messi’s goal was in a 3-1 rout of some modest Spanish club in La Liga, Henry’s was to deliver the deciding goal in extra time of a World Cup qualifier. there shouldn’t be a difference, but there is.

      • Boat Forever
        November 19, 2009

        Messi’s goal would have won us La Liga FYI

    • Aeneas
      November 18, 2009

      Henry had a handball and remains Henry. Nothing else. Anyone who has ever played football, ever, has touched the ball with his or her hand. Life goes on.

    • cliveee
      November 19, 2009

      Henry has completed his move to be a true legend now. He wouldn’t be as just as a true legend if he did not commit one of those controversial “sins” in football.

      But a foul is a foul, I wouldn’t be proud of cheating like this. Don’t wanna apply a double standard when we hate divers and play-actors so much. Wordless for the game, but the result is that “FUCK YEAH FRANCE IS THRU!”

      I don’t hate France, I only hate Domenech. I don’t even want to call him a coach. The presence of him in the French team shows how much FFF have to do to ‘clean’ their system.

  39. Kevo
    November 18, 2009

    you have do to bad things to be the best.
    still love Titi, regardless but that handball was some funny shit.

  40. yogi
    November 18, 2009

    well, i do not hate france but right now, i feel more for ireland though i am not an ireland supporter by long way. they got cheated by a blatant hand ball. and henry did take two touches and pretty conscious ones at that. the ref could not have seen it but the assistant ref should have. am not expecting any action from fucking administrators of the game who are not exactly bright to begin with. i do believe that henry (and all subsequent deliberate misdeeds) should result in ban or suspended ban so that footballers will know that cheating will bring penalties. but the ball less wonders of zurich will rarely take right step so sadly we will continue to see intelligent plays from players.

  41. November 18, 2009

    Anyone watched Spain first half?
    If it happened and you watched it again, Check who was the player who played most of the wrong passes for Spain. I barely watched a Spanish international playing more wrong passes than right ones.

    • Tajh
      November 18, 2009

      Who played most of the wrong passes??? Im guessing its Busquets

    • Aeneas
      November 18, 2009

      A stunning dress for a size 5 can look terrible on a size 8

      • Aeneas
        November 18, 2009

        or a size 3, whatever-Cesc should stay where he is needed.

    • drew
      November 19, 2009

      the guy our board wants to spend 50mil on who if comes will most likely make JDS or thiago leave

  42. jordi
    November 18, 2009

    “Yes, it was a handball, but I’m not the referee,” said Thierry Henry. “I was behind two Irish players, the ball rebounded and hit my hand, I continued to play, the referee didn’t whistle. I can’t say that it wasn’t a handball. Yes, it was a handball.”

  43. Corrine
    November 18, 2009

    *http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/internationals/8367588.stm

  44. UAI
    November 18, 2009

    Wow. I assume all of you were just as outraged with our “Hand of Messi” goal

    //http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSiIcTETUPc

    I will also claim the powers of getting inside Messi’s head and all-knowingly judge intention. I will therefore always think of MEssi as a cheat (not).

    I’m surprised at the kind of language and name calling that has been allowed to slide on this blog

    • Corrine
      November 18, 2009

      i agree 100% i always found this blog refreshing because our regulars were respectful and intelligent, unlike most football fans on the web. some of the terms directed at our OWN PLAYER have just been unacceptable! i still love you peeps but please cool it a bit, we’re too good for that 🙂

      • November 18, 2009

        It is weird that this match has plumbed the depths of this blog’s psyche. Let’s, indeed, tone it down, shall we?

        Ciaran, I feel for you and your boys and was very much on their side in terms of cheering for them, but unfortunately it didn’t go their way. But that doesn’t make the French players bad people. It makes them people who want to win.

        I’ll post about this tomorrow because it strikes me as an important question.

        • drew
          November 19, 2009

          im not in his shoes so i dont know what he feels. but if his passion for Ireland is like it is for Barca(probably more) then i dont mind his comments.
          especially when they were written minutes or seconds after the incident

  45. jordi
    November 18, 2009

    This is what happens when Titi hangs with steve nash, tony parker and Kobe too much 😀

  46. Kxevin
    November 19, 2009

    Crikey, this is still going on? This is what Irish side player Kevin Doyle had to say after the match:

    “It is just instinctive on his behalf, but it is that obvious that I’m sure he expected the free-kick straight away,” the Wolverhampton Wanderers forward stated.

    “I don’t blame him as much as how it’s not seen to be honest.”

    In other words “Hey, in war, you do what you can to win.” Would he have done the same thing? You bet. People are screaming to high heaven about this “cheating,” but is a hand ball any worse than fouling, shirt tugging or all the other stuff that players do to get an advantage?

    Players make plays, illegal or otherwise, and the ref officiates the match. When you watch it in real time, it just isn’t all that detectable. In slow-motion, you can see it, but I still don’t see the intent that people claim. But the existence of intent depends upon your view of the situation. Les Bleus supporters will say that it wasn’t deliberate, Ireland supporters will say that Henry is a cheat.

    Barca fans who are also Ireland fans, and use rather unsociable terms to describe France players should remember how Barca was attacked by Chelsea fans, and labeled “cheats,” and other rather unfortunate terms. Yes, national fervor is high, and it should be. But lighten up. And yes, I would be saying the same thing if the positions were reversed, and Duff or somebody had a similar play to Henry.

    • cliveee
      November 19, 2009

      I have all respect to players such as him. Very much the same respect I had for Terry and Lampard when we beat them in Stamford Bridge while they came to the dressing room to congratulate us.

  47. jordi
    November 19, 2009

    Ok Benzema hasnt been in the best form for Real Madrid, but surely he’d have done a little more than Gignac.Not even bringing him in the extra time ?

  48. BA
    November 19, 2009

    worst part about France going through isn’t Henry’s handball, but that it means Domenech, like Maradona, has squeaked through to qualify and now probably won’t be replaced before the summer.

  49. cliveee
    November 19, 2009

    I don’t think Henry was as deliberately as it seemed when he did his deed now. 1) He was completely affected by 2 Irish players who were running at him and jumping. 2) He only saw his chance of touching the ball after the ball bounced up. 3) He attempted to control it by keeping his posture upright( trying to chest it or tummy it maybe?) but then the ball bounced up too high for that and thats when he knew his is not gonna either chest the ball or touch the ball with his abs. So he reacted with a handball. … . .. . . .. . .
    thats how i see it after replaying for 1899 times.

  50. yogi
    November 19, 2009

    I personally do not fault Henry as much. Just the officials. And even for them, i can buy the argument that they were not capable to catch the fault in real time. In that case, i just think it is pity that some very important moments are decided incorrectly. Do i think there is easy solution? I do not think so. The only solution i can think of is to have a real time referee watching the match on tv and helping the man on middle to make decisions. This also means that officials will use their head phones to be in contact with extra official pretty much all the time. This will not eliminate all the current problems but i feel pretty sure that this will reduce them drastically and having a real time ref will avoid the time delay that a video ref can result in.

  51. jnelson
    November 19, 2009

    DAMN! All this drama about a handball?! For a non-Spain affiliated match?! But RUSSIA was ELIMINATED today! I can’t believe that. They dominated their qualifying group with the exception of no luck versus Germany and then they lose to Slovenia? WOW. Looks like Hiddink will have some thoughts about what could have been at Chelsea now…

    • Vj
      November 19, 2009

      Why? If Carlo screws up, you know who Chelsea are going to run to..

  52. Helge
    November 19, 2009

    OMG! Coming back to Barca, EMD reports that Ibra is in doubt for the clashes against Inter and Real Madrid!!!

    Sport.es meanwhile says that Puyol won’t play against Bilbao.

  53. November 19, 2009

    I think in such cases the worst thing someone can accept to do, is to live in a moment of denial. Just try his/her best not to comment on it as if it didn’t happen. But for some people not only to defend it, but even praise it in a way or another, that’s unbelievable shocking.

    “He did it because he wanted to go to the world cup.” 60 % of those who attack banks killing people and rubbing money do it because they have children to feed or parents to treat. Or so they claim. What’s wrong is wrong. No buts..well…because… Its wrong. The same as claiming that it’s the referee job to prevent it. As if the bank hackers are not considered thieves anymore if the cops didn’t catch them. What is this?!

    I watched the game. There was one team of men. They wanted to go to the world cup. They really wanted that badly. It’s obvious that they trained like hell and prepared during the night and light to fulfill this dream. Thousands of their supporters followed them all the way to France, and millions were praying for them in their home country. They didn’t save any breath for the following day while chasing each and every ball as if they won’t live another day. They proved why that SPI (or whatever it is) is a dumb methodology for considering players as robots with measurable parameters and not men of passion and pride that can overcome any lack in quality or experience. They played against a lifeless team that lack fighting spirit. Players who wanted to qualify to world cup without really putting their hearts for it. They want to get rich without working for it. The only way possible was to steal, and so they did.
    Ronaldo is pathetic because he dive for a foul. Henry is a winner because he cheats to get into the world cup. How ironic! The most shameful part is not that he did it. But the fact that he was so proud of it. Celebrating like he never did before. It would have been less disgraceful if he at least claimed that while he passed the ball to Gallas, he stretched his leg and that he feel some pain. Fall down, where the cams can’t hunt him.
    Will I do it if I was in his place? Believe it or not, it will cross my mind but I will hesitate in the last moment. Then I may regret for the rest of my life for NOT doing it. Its there where you show what you are made of, not in an interview. This is not a moment Henry will be proud of. Nor anyone who defend it, or try to find a less shameful explanation for it. Because they make it sound much worse.
    Does it mean that we have to hang the guy? No, we have to forgive him. We have no other choice as We all do mistakes in a moment of weakness.

    • Nithin
      November 19, 2009

      Completely agree with you Ramzi. I’m appalled at some of the justifications given here.

      So you are justified in doing whatever you want to do to win as long as the ref doesn’t catch it? The whole concept of fair play in sports goes right out the window then, doesn’t it? And Weligton was justified in doing what he did? Is that what we really want to see in football (or any other sport for that matter)?

      And Isiah, everybody is as much a cheat as Henry? Really? I’m reasonably sure not everybody would’ve done what Henry did in his place, as you claim. Or almost every major game in every major sport would’ve had such incident’s wouldn’t they?

      • skyislm
        November 19, 2009

        thank you Ramzi, you made my day.

        and i would expect we cules, who will die for the style than for the silver, must never side with such dirty tacts.

        what is done is well in the past, but i least expected a justification for it, in *this* forum.

        henry may be ours, but he is not *us*. atleast after last nite.

        and please stop references to the chelsea match, because there is a world of difference between that and this.

        peace please.

  54. ElShowDeJason
    November 19, 2009

    Henry’s like our child. We still love him, because he is ours, but we are disappointed in him.

    I think most of my obscenities were reserved for the Referee.

    Henry handling the ball is cheating as much as shirt tugging and stiff-arming is cheating. What he did is wrong. When Defenders make “professional fouls” They know they are committing an infraction, but they are choosing to live with the consequences. Obviously Henry knew what he was doing, and knew the consequences of him being called on it. But at that point it is the Referee’s job to call him on it.

    This isn’t a huge deal because Henry committed a handball, this is a big deal because it wasn’t called.

    My heart goes out to all Irish fans.

    btw, my job is a soccer referee. It is the worst job in the world. He coulda have made 99% of the calls perfectly in that match, but he will only be remembered for that failed call.

    • November 19, 2009

      Jason, I think we can’t blame the ref for this one. That was an impossible call. Fast, covered and well executed.
      In any way, I won’t judge the cops before the thieves. Henry is our child, but he is solely responsible of this one, without casting any doubts on it.

      • ElShowDeJason
        November 19, 2009

        I don’t know…

        This issue is very much in a grey area…

        I WONT say that “I wouldn’t do what Henry did”, because I’m not nor will I ever be in that situation (at least not at that level and with those consequences), but i would say that “i’d like to think i wouldn’t do it”

        I can kinda see every camp’s point.

        Ramzi you are arguing that he intentionally cheated. He used an advantage not afforded to the other players. This is no different that using steroids (doping). I can see the logic there.

        Isaiah is arguing that we all would have done it, so – how does it go? – let he who has not sined throw the first stone. And i can see the logic there too. From Maradona, Messi, Henry (again), Crouch*, Ronaldo, I suppose i could see anyone in the situation be overcome with natural instinct and do what it takes to survive right then and there, instead of being civil.

        I believe Kxevin’s last argument was that all he did was commit an infraction. Just like everyone else. And the ref didn’t call it. Such is life. And i can see that too. Most defenders grab jerseys and tug when defending a corner. Why? because referees allow it. They will never call it. But it still is a foul, so they are cheating. Kxevin’s point seems to be that the players will do as much to win as they are allowed to by the ref. And i can see his point.

        I’m not saying any of the three are wrong or right, but I completely see where you all are coming from. I personally don’t quite know where I stand, but know that I was furious when it happened, and not happy with Henry or the Ref when it happened.

        And I will openly admit that my feelings toward this would probably be different if the teams and players involved were different.

        If Henry does this for us against Real Madrid, i would probably find some bull-shit way to justify it.

        If a Madrid players does this to us, I scream bloody murder and raise the conspiracy flag.

        as a fan of soccer i am not unbiased. so who knows…

        • November 19, 2009

          “Ramzi you are arguing that he intentionally cheated. He used an advantage not afforded to the other players.”

          If you had no chance to cheat, then you have no credit for not doing so. Whenever someone cheat, it’s because he is taking advantage of something here or there. Someone who cheats his wife with a model is a cheater. Though he is taking advantage of something that may not be afforded to all men. Same with corruption, and anything related to life.

          “I WONT say that “I wouldn’t do what Henry did”, because I’m not nor will I ever be in that situation (at least not at that level and with those consequences)”

          I respect your honesty. But I can say I WONT do it. We all pass in our lives in situations that are relatively as crucial for us as being in a world cup for a player with all the achievements Henry had already. Actually, he didn’t even need it this way. So we probably pass in a situation that demands more from you to keep your pride than what he had to deal with last night. But in any way, you may never know what you will do if you had a chance to steal a million dollar, burn a forest for fun, or become the president of a rich country through a bloody revolution that kill lot of innocents. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t take a position.

          “Isaiah is arguing that we all would have done it, so – how does it go? – let he who has not sined throw the first stone.
          Admitting that it’s a sin is a good start. But I can tell you there are thousands of players who had the chance to do the same but they didn’t. Do you think the papers one day will write “Jason had the chance to cheat but he didn’t?” It’s not going to happen as people only notice bad things. Who congratulated you today for not stealing? Raping? Cheating? Lying? Etc… But when you do any of that once, they jump on you. That’s how it goes.

          Kxevin’s point seems to be that the players will do as much to win as they are allowed to by the ref. And i can see his point.

          So diving, doping and all kind of cheating are ok in football. If the players got busted then they get punished. If not then good for them. Talking about Kxevin, he knows how dirty bicycling competitions became because of this mentality. So I can’t understand his point at all as he should know more. I think his heart took him a bit further than his mind would have accepted. But its France after all, and its Henry.

          And I will openly admit that my feelings toward this would probably be different if the teams and players involved were different..

          That’s probably one of the reasons why my children may hate me 😀 I am a bit boring and cold when it come to emotionally protecting what’s not right.
          At least, so Irish know that people admit it was not fair. And not that they failed to understand the reality of the game.

          • Eklavya
            November 19, 2009

            “…if you had a chance to steal a million dollar, burn a forest for fun, or become the president of a rich country through a bloody revolution that kill lot of innocents.”

            😀 😀 😀

  55. Eklavya
    November 19, 2009

    Whoaaa ho ho, so much stuff on that Handball? I know it was crazy but come on. The ball pretty much came on Henry’s hand, then bounced, then Henry just sort of um deflected it’s motion in which he hardly had the time to think about the consequences. I’m pretty sure he was expecting a call but it didn’t happen. Well too bad, that football.
    And France aren’t proud about it, I don’t know how much stuff you guys got to see but here in Geneva you get loads of French Television stuff and on the channel we were watching, there was Arsene Wenger commenting along with the commentator the whole match (not the 1st time it’s happening). Anyway, they interviewed Domenech about the dressing room spirit and he said that they we’re almost disappointed cause they really wanted to win the match and prove themselves worthy of going to the WC.
    I’m not a France fan, I laughed at them being beaten 3-0 against Austria and their shameful streak of losses but after seeing them play almost every qualification match I think they deserve a place in the WC. I don’t think they deserved to beat Ireland though if that makes sense (which it probably doesn’t duh).

    • Eklavya
      November 19, 2009

      Oh and I don’t blamed that referee for not calling that. That one was real tough, heck it took a few slow-motions to properly see what happened! I hope everyone agree that there should be refs watching the penalty area now..

      And I agree with those who say it: I would have done that Handball too. Though I wouldn’t have celebrated like that. Like others I’m a bit sad that Henry did that and that they won that way….but like some who said before THIS MAKES HENRY A REAL LEGEND 😀

  56. Eklavya
    November 19, 2009

    Here’s an interesting idea:

    *http://goal.com/en/news/1717/editorial/2009/11/19/1633391/henrys-law-time-to-introduce-tennis-challenge-system-in

    And here’s a good article:

    *http://goal.com/en/news/1863/world-cup-2010/2009/11/19/1634002/french-revelations-ball-handling-a-tale-of-thierry-henry

    And Lloris was easy MOTM. He’s also in world’s top 5 goalies at the moment. That crazy kamikaze run to deflected the ball of Kean’s feet nearly injured his head ala Cech. Unbeatable in the air, has courage and when he makes a decision he doesn’t turn back on it (*cough valdes cough*).

    • Eklavya
      November 19, 2009

      kamikaze run to deflect not delfectED.

    • Soto
      November 19, 2009

      A limited video challenge is used in American Football as well. For much of the 80s and 90s American football extensively used video replay for referee decisions but it was found that unlimited use slowed the game. They eventually moved to limited challenges (I think they can use one or two and that it costs them a time out if the original ruling stands — or something like that).

      So there are at least two sports that we could look to if FIFA tried to design their own limited video challenge process. I prefer the extra officials at the goal, but a limited video challenge is not a bad idea either.

  57. November 19, 2009

    By the way, who is that other mysterious blog visitor from Södertälje/Sweden?:D

    • Eklavya
      November 19, 2009

      Thinking about giving someone a coaching lesson LIVE?
      😀

      • November 19, 2009

        Nah, just want to make sure if he is one of my players so I behave. Or may be tell him that he can use his hand if he decides to use it without intention 😉

  58. Diane
    November 19, 2009

    I haven’t been able to go back and read all of the comments, so I don’t know if anyone’s heard Henry’s post-game interview: “The Barcelona striker insisted, however, that the handball had not been intentional and even claimed to have told the referee about his breach of the rules. “He said to me the same: ‘You are not the ref’,” he told reporters.” (From TimesOnline)

    I say the same things I always say in these situations. There have always been horrible game-changing calls. The questions remains, especially in a situation where the player was not trying to influence the ref to his advantage, whether the rules should be changed to change the refs powers. I have very mixed feelings about it because each suggestion has such a domino effect that the whole game changes.

    The one thing that seems like too much of a coincidence are the shady draws and late introduction of seeding. (Not W.C. related, but who has stopped laughing yet about Barca and Inter and Real Madrid and Milan “drawing” each other from the little Champion’s League fish bowls?).

  59. Kevo
    November 19, 2009

    I think in a situation like that, i would’ve done it… intentionally.
    Because, simple as this…

    You are the captain of your National Team, you are “this close” of being eliminated from the World Cup (greatest competition in football) and you are playing extra time! Plus! your COACH is soooooo bad that you HAVE TO DO WHATEVER YOU CAN to make a miracle happen (tie or win the game).
    In part i’d blame Domenech for some actions because he is not fully in control of his players and he lacks the inspiration that other coaches might transmit. When your “boss” looks clueless and doesnt know wtf he is doing, it is up to you to “take it for the team.”

    Shameful? yes. But look at Zidane, he retired from football with a red card in the finals of a WC and still he is considered one of the greatest and Maradona is considered a GOD in football.

    If I were PEP Guardiola, i would congratulate him for qualifying but whisper “DONT YOU EVER PULL THAT KIND OF SHIT IN MY TEAM.”

    • November 19, 2009

      hahaha this is so true, completely agree.

      and just for the laughs:

      ////\\\\\http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkhQZNHcxmE

  60. SoccerMom
    November 19, 2009

    I’ll just quote our beloved RayRay (commenting on Messi’s hand-o’-god):

    “If you’re not cheatin’, you don’t want it enough!”

    There are worse things in this world going on than a cashmere-clad, Gillette-aftershaven euromillon-earning flying Frenchman touching a ball with his manicured hand.

    Chill ma babies.

  61. Keano
    November 19, 2009

    Im a Barca fan but Henry is a Cheat pure and simple. Spent most of the year out injured to comeback to so this???wtf Its a pathetic act like Roanldhino when he dived against Madrid in his last classico in order to win a penalty.After Barca he be joining LA Lakers not LA Galaxy. ps Fifa are a shower of plonkers.

  62. Hilal
    November 19, 2009

    Jesus guys, are we still on this hand ball thing. ITs not the first time its happened and it wont be the last, its just part of football, deal with it. Sometimes refs see them, sometimes they dont. ITs part of what makes football so exciting and so different to other sports. Anything can happen and the better team can lose as a result of something that isnt particularly fair or just, but hey, thats the game.

    Calling Henry a “cheat” is stupid. Any other player in the world, in the same position would do exactly the same thing. If you think for a second that the roles were reversed and it was an Irish player he would have done anything different? No chance. Its the same as diving or making reckless fouls. Players will always try and get away with something on the off chance that the ref/linesman makes the wrong call in their favour. ITs human nature that refs make mistakes and its human nature that players try to take advantage of those mistakes. If it bothers you that much i would suggest watching another sport cos it aint changing anytime soon.

    • UAI
      November 19, 2009

      My biggest issue with many comments here is how they claim intention. His hand barely moves from its original position before the ball bounces. I’m not saying there definitely wasn’t any intention, but how are the witch hunters so sure? If anything I’d only guess there wasn’t much

      Did Messi have any intention with the hand of messi goal? His hand went up to slap the ball in ahead of his head directly into a goal. Are the same people here willing to call him a “cheat”?

      Many people posting are acting as if they’ve never played football. None of you committed a handball? When it happens to me I really don’t see it coming. My reflexes betray me and my hand moves towards the ball, and I’m not happy with it afterwards(I doubt there was much hand to ball in Henry’s case however). You’re sometimes giving everything you have to work towards winning, and the line between what you can and can’t give gets blurred in the moment. It’s most often not a conscious decision in a few hundred milliseconds. While fighting for an air ball, 2 or 3 times I found myself digging my elbow into an opponents spine. Again, I’m a little dissapointed I allowed it to happen because I hate that kind of play, bu I can’t guarantee it won’t happen as I’m oxygen deprived and my sights and my being is laser-focused on that ball in the air. I can only only imagine what playing at a pro-level would do to my split-second judgement with the amplified burden of what’s at stake.

      Everytime somebody commits a yellow-card worthy foul, they are breaking the rules, and they were trying to gain an advantage. Mind you, I did not yet claim they intended to hurt the player. They know you can attack the ball but not the player, yet they end up hacking down the player very frequently. What are they thinking? They’re not really thinking most of the time. They allow themselves a certain degree of physical aggressivness, which they know will very often lead to a breach of the rules (hitting the player), but they say so be it, the referee will stop me, or he will misjudge it and I will have stopped the player. By the flimsy definition here, all frequent yellow card earners (mascherano and the like) are cheats, they just got caught for it.

      The only thing I fault Henry for is the celebration afterwards. Then again so did Messi with our goal, it bothered me a little at the time as it did yesterday. But again, how many of you want to call Messi a cheat as well?

      • November 19, 2009

        It wasn’t meant to be a laugh, but whatever. the whole thing is getting sarcastic.

  63. Tutomate
    November 19, 2009

    Ramzi, please do not compare a hand ball to Murder or Rape. I agree with you on the principle that it’s wrong and should not be justified, but to compare to murder, rape, deforestation, mass killings and such is just too far fetched. A hand ball is in a whole other realm because it’s just too trivial. Because it’s not just about if it’s wrong or not it’s about why it’s wrong.

    • November 19, 2009

      I wasnt discussing the handball anymore there Tutomate. But the mentality of justifying it.

      • Tutomate
        November 19, 2009

        Yes but Justifying Murder and Justifying a handball are seperate and disticnt things because of what they involve. It’s not as simple as a saying Justifying is Justifying just like cheating on a spouse is not the same as cheating on a test. But I agree with about the principle of trying to justify something that is not justyfiable.

  64. Keano
    November 19, 2009

    Yes but the difference is that the likes of Henry came out to winge after Barca beat Arsenal in 2005 saying there was injustice and eto was offside. He often takes the high moral ground on racism in football and rightly so, but wheres his morality here. And Im not going to be some hypocrite who calls arjen robben, drogba or ronaldo a cheat when one barca player does the same. If you dont like the label cheater thats fine but its an act of cheating.end of story. If anyone thinks I feel too strongly that grand but maybe just maybe you won’t be so pc if it happens to your country.And Messi’s hand of god was cheating and thats what no action on maradonas goal led to- imitation.Stamp it out!! Messi and Henry are both extraordinary players and can score brilliant goals-its just sad he must resort to this.PS you brought messi up, not me.

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