Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni concedes it will be “impossible” to replay his side’s World Cup play-off with France but the FAI is holding out hope after requesting the FIFA replay the match.
Ireland’s World Cup dreams ended in controversial circumstances after Thierry Henry handled the ball twice in the build-up to William Gallas’ crucial goal in the 1-1 draw in Paris.
Henry admitted he handled the ball, but the incident went unnoticed by the officials and France progressed to next summer’s finals in South Africa.
Trapattoni is resigned to the fact that the game will not be replayed and Ireland will miss out in playing in next summer’s tournament.
Questioned about the prospect of asking for the game to be replayed, Trapattoni said:
“We know it will be impossible for the game against France to be replayed. All fans saw what happened on the pitch. I would only like to say I would like FIFA to explain how they selected the referee for this important game. For this important game we needed a stronger referee – an important referee.”
The veteran Italian also believes FIFA need to change the structure of the play-off games.
“I would give the advice to FIFA – maybe in the future change the rules about the play-off. Play two games and at the end of 90 minutes – no extra-time.
“I think there are mistakes in life…I’ve seen many situations in football but change the rules. All sports lose credibility with this situation – it affects the integrity of the game.
“I will go to FIFA and advise them ‘go straight to penalties’. It’s better for football.”
“For me it’s bitter. There are many questions – they changed the rules about the seeded teams, then us playing away last. There are many doubts that have to be eliminated. Out of the non-seeded teams we were the only ones to play the second game away – why?”