As France crashed out of the World Cup Tuesday seven months after a disputed Thierry Henry handball dashed the Republic of Ireland’s hopes of getting to the championship, there was no sympathy from the country’s former assistant manager.
Liam Brady, who also won 72 caps for his country, said he was not sad that the troubled Les Bleus are going home after losing 2-1 to hosts South Africa.
“I am very pleased it has ended up that way. I thought they got there in the wrong fashion. The circumstances in which they beat us… well, it has all been well documented hasn’t it?
“They really, really performed badly,” Brady told RTE state radio.
“As well as playing badly, they’ve behaved badly and they come home in disgrace really. And the French Federation, it is a huge embarrassment to them.”
The Irish Times reported “Farcical French crash and burn” as manager Raymond Domenech’s tenure as French coach ended in ignominy.
The Examiner newspapers headlined its report “Sad Domenech laments broken dream” as his time in charge ended with his squabbling side making an early exit from the World Cup.
Ireland was furious last November after a clear handball by striker Henry, which set up what turned out to be the decisive goal in their play-off, went unpunished.
France and Ireland tied the game 1-1, with the controversial equaliser in extra time pushing them into the lead on aggregate, meaning they qualified for the World Cup.
Brady, who was Ireland’s assistant coach, described the handball incident as “crazy” at the time and called for a replay.
“If we are going to have integrity and dignity in the world game, the game should be replayed,” he said.
Brady said it was difficult for a manager to keep a grip on a squad of highly paid players who are probably stars in their own clubs.
“I would say that it was quite evident going back a long time, perhaps back to the last European championships, that things were not right in the French camp and that Domenech had a problem with his man management style and players were not getting on well with him.
Referring to Ireland’s defeat against France last November, he added: “It was evident that the French, even that night, were in a bad, bad way and in hindsight maybe the French Federation would wish they changed Domenech then,” Brady said.