Ireland's failure to qualify for World Cup set to trigger diplomatic row with France

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London, Nov. 20 (ANI): Ireland's failure to qualify for the World Cup finals due to a blatant French handball has threatened to trigger a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Following a statement by Irish premier Brian Cowen that he would discuss his call for the Ireland-France match to be replayed with President Sarkozy, French PM Frangois Fillon warned him to keep out of the football scandal.

The Times quoted Fillon, as saying that neither government should interfere in the decisions of FIFA, world football's governing body.

Meanwhile, it seemed as if Thierry Henry's double handball in setting up the crucial goal bathed Ireland in nostalgia-scented waters of oppression.

Failure to qualify would even affect the struggling economy, it was claimed.

Rueing the missed opportunity, Tara Buckley, who leads a group representing grocers, said: "It would have lifted the gloom and got people spending."

The pluck of the Irish had come second to "the Hand of Frog", one Dublin paper said - and the duplicity of Fifa.

One listener of Today FM said: "Ireland are still kings - France are wearing a stolen crown," and another vowed: "I'll never drink French wine again."

That started an avalanche of similar promises, such as abandoning French bread and even French kissing. (ANI)

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