Domenech baffled by France's 'guilty' tag

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The Independent Football

France coach Raymond Domenech is baffled as to why his side are being portrayed as the guilty party following their controversial World Cup play-off victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Les Bleus secured their place in South Africa next summer courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win although the key goal on Wednesday night from William Gallas came after a blatant handball from Thierry Henry.

There has been widespread condemnation for the Barcelona striker ever since but Domenech preferred to pin the blame on referee Martin Hansson.

He told L' "Everyone who loves the French team is pleased with this qualification.

"I too am pleased although it is tinged with a little bitterness due to a poor performance from my team, the referee and also the media reaction.

"I do not understand why we are being portrayed as the guilty party."

Domenech, who is set to keep his job following qualification, insisted he did not notice Henry's handball from the bench, adding: "I didn't see it at the time.

"After I watched it back, I can see it is a mistake by the referee. To me this is the game and not cheating.

"I do not understand why we are being asked to apologise."