Having spent all season bleating about how he needs to leave Tottenham if he’s not playing regular football, because there’s a World Cup in the summer, Pavlyuchenko will now have to find another reason to leave Spurs.

Despite FIFA’s best attempts to make sure that the biggest countries qualified, Russia slipped against Slovenia, so Super Pav will not be gracing the World Cup. Just to make it clear, we’d still like you to leave anyway Roman.

The Irish weren’t as lucky as their reputation suggests, as it was proved conclusively that once someone becomes a cheating Gooner scum, they remain in that state forever.

I love the way that Henry has now claimed that he didn’t deliberately handball it. The first touch with his hand he probably didn’t know too much about, but with his second he practically grabbed the ball with one hand in the style of Pat Jennings.

Just to add insult to injury, two French players were offside anyway when the free kick went in. What a travesty and full marks to Robbie Keane for sticking it to the man, in an interview last night with Radio Five Live.

“They’re all probably clapping hands, Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result.

He (Henry) nearly caught it, so it’s a bit of a killer. When you see the reaction of the players, Shay especially, he’s two yards away from it. You don’t get a reaction like that if he’s not sure it’s a handball. He almost caught it and ran into the net with it.”

Keane also criticised the seeding system for the play off matches, which was announced at the last minute when FIFA realised that many of the top teams might not qualify automatically.

“Germany had a chance of being in the [play-offs] as well. With two massive countries there’s no way in a million years is there going to be fair draw.”

The seeding decision was atrocious. Everyone was seeded when they drew the groups, so why do they need to be seeded again for the play offs? The top teams had already had the advantage of being seeded and failed to capitalise upon it, so why should they get another easy ride?

If FIFA are going to play that game, then they might as well just scrap qualification for the biggest countries and be done with it. The decision was clearly a financial one, as countries such as France and Germany obviously bring a big television audience.

France have failed to qualify for the World Cup before in recent years, as have England, Holland and Portugal. No one thought that those World Cups were any less of a spectacle, but maybe research shows that TV and advertising revenue were well down in those tournaments.

So commiserations to the Irish. Once again the governing bodies in football have proved that despite the fact that they like to talk up the merits of fair play, when it comes down to the bottom line, some things are more valuable to them.



  1. The whole thing leaves a horrible taste in the mouth. I reason the best way to resolve the matter is to replay the game, but there is absolutely no way the French FA will sanction that. A pity, really, because this whole thing is a political mess.


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