Furious coach Domenech leaps to defence of Henry

The France coach Raymond Domenech has condemned the backlash against Thierry Henry following the handball that led to his country's World Cup qualification.

Henry's handball in the build-up to William Gallas' extra-time goal earned a 2-1 aggregate win for Domenech's team against the Republic of Ireland last Wednesday. The Barcelona forward has since been subjected to a barrage of criticism – much to the ire of Domenech.

"It made me furious that Thierry can be treated this way," the France manager said. "I have not slept for two days and I am just starting to get over it. When France were given an unjustified red card against the Serbs, Serbia did not launch a campaign to denigrate our team."

Henry has admitted he considered retiring from international football following the uproar, but Domenech does not believe he was ever likely to have quit. "No, I do not think so," he said. "But when I called, he was like all of us – surprised, stunned. I have tremendous respect for him as a man and a footballer.

"Titi (Henry) is one of the most talented players in the history of French football. We qualified for the World Cup. For months now, despite his injury, he participated in all our matches at the risk of being yelled at by his club, Barcelona. 'Les Bleus' is his reason for living as a footballer."

Sepp Blatter yesterday called an extraordinary meeting of Fifa chiefs after the World Cup play-offs but the governing body are not considering a U-turn over their decision to refuse a replay. Domenech agrees with FIFA that it would have been "impossible" to replay the match. Both captains, Henry and the Republic's Robbie Keane, as well as respected figures in French football such as Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, called for the game to be replayed following the fallout.

But, when asked if that would indeed have been the "fairest solution" as Henry suggested, Domenech replied: "No, it would have been impossible. Or it should be done after every incident that goes unpunished.

"Let's solve the problem of refereeing – that is the real debate."

Domenech also responded to criticism aimed at him from former players including Eric Cantona and 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu. Cantona claimed Domenech was the worst coach since Louis XVI, while Lizarazu shared a heated exchange with the coach on live radio moments after France's triumph.

"I did not know that Louis XVI had been a coach," said Domenech. "I put Cantona in the same batch as the others. He is coach of a beach soccer team and failed to qualify his team for the World Cup. He should show decency."

Of Lizarazu, he continued: "It's nice, the lessons of Bixente Lizarazu. It is fun, he won something but he must not forget that he too has experienced difficult times – in 2002, for example. He does not ask questions, he merely gives advice. Former players who act as coaches and have never coached a team leave me indifferent."

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker