Wednesday night's France-Ireland football clash may well have had Ireland on the way to the 2010 World Cup, had it not been for the "Hand of Henry."
Unfortunately, yet again, the beautiful game turned out to be anything but attractive, as France vs Ireland highlights will show.
The fixture came on the back of the first Ireland vs France meeting that took place on Saturday night in Dublin, which saw France triumph 1-0 and hold a crucial away goal advantage.
The Irish were massive underdogs heading into the second leg, with william hill bookmakers , for instance, giving odds of 6/1 for an Irish win at the Stade de France in Paris.
Nobody apparently told this to Robbie Keane , as he unexpectedly put Ireland ahead in the 33rd minute with an excellent first—touch shot.
The Irish surprisingly dominated a majority of the match, and Damien Duff almost made it 2-0 for the visitors in the 61st minute, after going one-on-one with French keeper Hugo Lloris, having run onto a marvellous through ball.
Still, at the end of the 90 minutes it was France 0 - Ireland 1 which meant that the two teams were tied 1-1 on aggregate after 180 minutes of football.
This would mean that Irish would have to score again in extra time or win a penalty shoot-out in order to post an incredible victory in the series, and secure a spot in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa .
Unfortunately for the Irish it was not to be. A free—kick saw William Gallas head home a goal in the 104th minute that would end the dream of Ireland and put France through to the World Cup finals yet again.
But it was no ordinary goal. Not only did the replay show that two French players were offside before the goal, but Thierry Henry blatantly handled—or even juggled—the ball before passing it to Gallas who headed home from point blank range.
The incident was somehow missed by the officials, and in spite of the protests of the Irish team, the goal stood, meaning that France won the tie 2-1 on aggregate.
This is yet another example of a crucial goal unfairly given, when video technology would have prevented the injustice from ever happening.
How long will it be before FIFA and Co. finally get their act together and implement video technology in football, to stop blatant mistakes like this happening on a regular basis?
Condolences to Ireland. But they always had the odds against them, thanks to FIFA's incredibly unfair seeding of the play-offs that deliberately pitted the higher ranked teams against the lower ones.
Ireland keeper Shay Given described the late ploy by FIFA as 'ridiculous' and 'disgusting' prior to the entire France vs Ireland tie, whilst Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni accurately put the decision down to the fact that 'business is business', owing to how 'the big teams command UEFA'.
Still, Slovenia managed an upset of epic proportions by knocking out Russia on away goals, so there was some solace for those supporting the underdog. Nevertheless, this loss will burn in the memory of Ireland fans for years to come.