France beat Ireland 1-0

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:48 IST

Arsenal striker Thierry Henry scored the only goal of the game, as France beat Ireland 1-0 in a European Zone Group 4 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

France beat Ireland 1-0

Dublin:

Arsenal striker Thierry Henry scored the only goal of the game, as France beat Ireland 1-0 in a European Zone Group 4 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. Ahead of the qualifier, Irish manager Brian Kerr had demanded that "36,000 of the potentially maddest Irish people" turn out to help inspire his team to victory. When the teams took to the pitch, and at the completion of the Irish national anthem, the renowned Lansdowne Roar sounded out and that seemed to inspire the home side to dominate the first half. Opportunity to scoreHowever, France had the first scoring opportunity.After Henry was fouled just outside the area, Zinedine Zidane floated a near-perfect free kick towards the corner of the Irish goal, only to see Shay Given pull off an excellent save. Just a few minutes later, the Irish were giving the French a scare, with Andy Reid matching Zidane's effort. This time though, the ball clipped the outside of the post and the French were able to breathe again. Mounting problemsThe home side continued to cause problems for the French defence.After Robbie Keane got his head to a long punt down field, strike partner Clinton Morrison fired just wide from an acute angle. Ireland continued to have the better of the chances in the second half, but they were eventually undone by a piece of Thierry Henry brilliance. The Arsenal marksman picked up the ball outside the Irish area and curled it past Given to score a goal worthy of winning any football match. That seemed to kill off the Irish challenge, and even though they continued to push for an equaliser, they seemed to lack the finishing touch when in front of goal. Points tallyThe game finished 1-0 in favour of France.The team stayed top of Group 4 with Switzerland, who won 3-1 in Cyprus. Ireland fell to fourth place behind Israel, who beat the Faroe Islands 2-0. With just two games left, Ireland face probable elimination from contention for next year's World Cup in Germany. France travel to Switzerland on October 8, in a likely battle to decide the group winner, while the Irish host the Swiss four days later. (AP)



Topics : Football Real Madrid France Arsenal
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