DUBLIN (AFP) - Angry Ireland called on FIFA Thursday to allow its World Cup playoff with France to be replayed, as a dispute over Thierry Henry's blatant handball threatened to become a diplomatic row.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he supported the Football Association of Ireland's request, and promised to raise the issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at an EU summit.
Video replays showed Henry used his hand to stop the ball going out of play in extra-time of Wednesday's match, before he passed to William Gallas to head the goal for a 2-1 aggregate win which sent France to South Africa.
"The blatantly incorrect decision by the referee to award the goal has damaged the integrity of the sport," the FAI said in a statement.
"We now call on FIFA, as the world governing body for our sport, to organise for this match to be replayed."
As he arrived in Brussels for the meeting to choose two top EU jobs, Cowen said: "Our minister of sport actually will write to FIFA in support of that complaint and look for a re-match."
He said he and Sarkozy "will probably have a chat about it away from the table," but added that he wanted football's authorities to resolve the row and ensure "that fair play is upheld here."
But as the fallout intensified, the French prime minister said the Irish government should not get involved in FIFA business.
"Neither the French government nor the Irish government should interfere in the functioning of the international federation," Francois Fillon said.
FIFA confirmed it had received a letter of complaint from the FAI, but refused to say when any decision would be made.
Ireland's chances of forcing a replay appear slim.
The match in Paris was one of four playoffs on Wednesday which finalised the 32-nation line-up for South Africa.
The draw for next year's finals is due to be made in Cape Town on December 4, leaving little time in a calendar already crowded by club matches.
Who's saying what about Henry handball
The Irish football body pointed to a precedent: a FIFA decision in 2005 to invalidate the result of a World Cup qualifier between Ukbekistan and Bahrain on the basis of "a technical error by the referee of the match".
But a FIFA spokesman said that was a "very different" case, because the referee in the match "saw the incident in question and simply failed to apply the proper rules".
FAI chief executive John Delaney said his organisation had also written to the French Football Federation (FFF) asking for the playoff to be replayed, and urged FIFA to take action.
"If FIFA believe in fairplay and integrity... this is their opportunity to step forward," a clearly agitated Delaney said.
"From the French FA's point of view, they need to look at themselves and look at this situation.
"Thierry Henry's their captain, he's a wonderful footballer, but does he want to be remembered like Maradona was in 1986, does he want his legacy to be this handball?" he asked, referring to Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal for Argentina against England at the 1986 World Cup.
Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said he did not believe FIFA would grant a replay.
"It is impossible to repeat the game," the experienced Italian said.
He urged FIFA to explain how Swedish referee Martin Hansson, who failed to spot the incident, had been chosen for such a high-profile match, saying: "For this important game we needed a stronger referee, an important referee."
Henry himself admitted handling, but said the responsibility for seeing the incident fell to the match official.
Trapattoni refused to blame the player, saying: "It wasn't up to Henry to say 'I touched it with my hand'."
The Irish press were unanimous in their condemnation.
"We were robbed" said the Irish Star, "Le Cheat" added the Irish Mirror, while the Irish Sun splashed with the "Hand of the Frog".
A Facebook page entitled "We Irish hate Thierry Henry (the cheat)" also drew hundreds of comments, including a call for an Irish boycott of French goods.
|Coach: R. Domenech|
for J. Escudé 9'
for A. Gignac 56'
for Y. Gourcuff 87'
|We paid dearly - Iniesta|
|Blanc hails PSG spirit|
|Tempo not good enough for Milner|
|Rodgers: Sturridge not fit for England|
|Prandelli urges daring approach|
|Jesus bullish ahead of Leverkusen match|
|Bundesliga Preview: Hamburg´s task gets no easier, Bayern battle Hannover|
|Hummels committed to Dortmund|
|Sao Paulo 1 Huachipato 0: Brazilians claim first-leg honours|
|Premier League superior to Serie A - Isla|
|Ferdinand taunts stay-away City fans|
|Simundza hails Maribor effort|
|Yermakovich overjoyed with BATE win|
|We targeted Ajax in the air - Donis|
|Gago among three Argentina inclusions|
|Pellegrini rues poor City showing|
|Aduriz admits Bilbao not good enough|
|Lucescu can´t hide Shakhtar despair|
|De Boer frustrated at ´nothing´ penalty|
|Winning margin not important - Mourinho|
|Maicon disappointed at dropping points|
|Luis Enrique upbeat despite defeat|
|Draw would have been fair - Silva|
|Record-breaker Totti rues Manchester misses|
|Keller: My Schalke players are shattered|
|Championship Review: Norwich beaten, McKinlay off to winning start|
|Champions League centurion Terry proud of achievement|
|Luiz hopes Barca win can kickstart PSG season|
|Crewe Alexandra 0 Notts County 3: Cassidy brace sinks basement boys|
|Aberdeen 2 St Mirren 2: Struggling visitors fight back|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Porto 2: Martinez´s late double salvages dramatic draw|
|Slutsky shrugs off possession statistic|
|Manchester City 1 Roma 1: Evergreen Totti pegs back City|
|APOEL 1 Ajax 1: Manduca rescues point for hosts|
|Schalke 1 Maribor 1: Slovenian underdogs hold firm in Germany|
|BATE 2 Athletic Bilbao 1: Hosts secure first victory over Spanish side|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Barcelona 2: Luis Enrique tastes defeat as Xavi makes history|
|Sporting Lisbon 0 Chelsea 1: Matic returns to haunt old rivals|
|K. League Preview: Jeonbuk´s leadership under threat|
|Inter v Qarabag: Mazzarri looking for response|
|Guardiola unimpressed by empty Arena Khimki|
|Krasnodar v Everton: Martinez´s men may be handed triple boost|
|Arabian Gulf League Review: Al Wahda held, Al Shabab win again|
|Schmidt: Leverkusen must match Benfica aggression|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Bayern Munich 1: Century up for German giants|
|Al Ain 2 Al Hilal 1 (agg 2-4): Saudis make final as Gyan sees red|
|Romulo sidelined following hernia surgery|
|Sturridge to miss Basle clash|
|Everton pessimistic over Mirallas injury|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Mazzarri demands Inter fight, Hecking eyes improvement|
|Ancelotti: Ronaldo an example for everyone|
|Evans returns to Northern Ireland squad|
|Simeone earmarks ´extraordinary´ Tevez as Juve´s dangerman|
|Kitchee 1 Erbil 2 (agg 2-3): Early goals see visitors through|
|Herrera sustains fractured rib|
|Tottenham v Besiktas: Kaboul calling for more of the same|
|Scotland call up debutants Gauld and May|
|Ramsey out for up to four weeks|
|Giroud deal done - Wenger|
|Hull City challenge FA over name change ruling|
|Rooney impressed with McNair|
|Luiz: I nearly joined Barca|
|Persipura 0 Al Qadsia 6 (agg 2-10): Visitors coast into final|
|Blanc wary of ´exceptional´ Messi|
|Dawson extends Albion deal|
|Mourinho open to move within Premier League|
|Top four the priority - Van Persie|
|Liga MX Preview: Queretaro braced for Atlas challenge|
|Copa Sudamericana Preview: Sao Paulo out to arrest slump|
|MLS Preview: DC United ready to grind, Revolution host Crew|
|Argentine Primera Division Review: Newell´s unbeaten run ends|
|Mignolet shrugs Valdes, Liverpool link|
|Neville blames transfers for Newcastle form|
|Mathieu applauds Messi, Neymar partnership|
|Mignolet must improve - Carragher|
|Cole hails Lampard|
|Villa may miss opener in Australia|
|Hughes thrilled with ´deserved´ home win|
|Pardew fears for future|
|Serie A Review: Djordjevic treble fires Lazio to Palermo win|
|Pardew facing ´serious conversations´ with Ashley|
|Pacos de Ferreira 2 Belenenses 0: Hosts off the mark on home turf|
|Stoke City 1 Newcastle United 0: Crouch deepens gloom for visitors|
|Garcia embracing underdogs tag|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Gekas double sinks Fenerbahce|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Benfica: Schmidt´s men seek goalscoring touch|
|Costa to start against Sporting|
|Russian Premier League Review: CSKA edge Ural thriller to close gap on Zenit|
|Ludogorets v Real Madrid: Holders out to avoid slip-up in Sofia|
|Malmo v Olympiacos: Roberto insists no hangover for visitors|
|Championship Preview: McKinlay in at Watford, Norwich host unbeaten Charlton|
|Luis Enrique expecting stern PSG test|
|Atletico Madrid v Juventus: Opening defeat puts pressure on hosts|
|Bruce staying positive despite winless run|
|Police investigating Van Dijk racism claims|
|Hazard dreaming of Champions League glory|
|Santos goes to Goa|
|Double delight for Al-Garni|
|Basel v Liverpool: Rodgers hopeful on Sturridge return|
|Arsenal v Galatasaray: Wenger facing selection headache|
|Blanc calling on others to cover for Ibrahimovic absence|
|Zenit v Monaco: Jardim sticking with style|
|Ibrahimovic out of Barca clash|
|Lucescu happy to host Porto in Lviv|
|Hart looking to bounce back against Roma|
|McKinlay replaces Garcia at Watford|
|Anderlecht v Borussia Dortmund: Hasi expecting tough test|
|Sunderland not panicking, says Jones|
|Pelle hopes for Italy call|
|Slutsky well aware of Bayern strength|
|Guardiola entering unchartered territory|
|Arsenal have a point to prove against Chelsea - Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Irvine hails Lescott impact|
|Carlos backs Ancelotti to defend crown|
|Montoya replaces injured Douglas|
|Pearce wants permanent Hunt deal|
|Nolan targets top 10|
|Mangala reaction pleases Kompany|
|Dyche keen to emulate West Brom example|
|Irvine happy to see Hawthorns rocking again|
|San Siro ´isn´t enough anymore´ for Milan|
|Redknapp calls for temporary subs|
|Western Sydney Wanderers v Seoul: A-League side look to continue dream run|
|Hazard rules out PSG switch|
|MLS Review: Keane scores twice in Galaxy romp|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Five-star Alajuelense extend streak|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Medellin held, Santa Fe go top|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Wilstermann remain top|
|Napoli rewarded for team effort - Benitez|
|Liga MX Review: Layun scores four, Monterrey leapfrog Atlas|
|Paraguayan Division Profesional Review: 15-year-old Diaz is Cerro´s hero|
|Uruguayan Primera Division Review: Racing leave it late, Recoba scores from a corner|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Gremio´s resurgence continues|
|Venezuelan Primera Division Review: Leaders held, Tucanes win again|
|Referee got it right - Rooney|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Melgar stay perfect|
|Bielsa: Marseille always in control|
|Newcastle will offer Tiote new deal - Pardew|
|Shakhtar Donetsk v Porto: Lucescu looks to maintain impressive home record|
|Ligue 1 Review: Marseille, Bordeaux continue fine starts|