Henry's Hand of God breaks Irish hearts

<strong>FRANCE (1) </strong>vs. <strong>REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (1)</strong><br />AET, FRANCE WIN 2-1 ON AGGREGATE<br /><br />THIERRY HENRY relived the Hand of God in Paris last night to cruelly deny Republic of Ireland a place in the 2010 World Cup finals.<br /><br />The Barcelona striker blatantly juggled the ball with his hand before setting up Arsenal&rsquo;s William Gallas for an extra-time equaliser which Les Bleus barely deserved.<br /><br />Giovanni Trapattoni&rsquo;s Ireland battled like trojans for the full 120 minutes &ndash; forcing the extra period when captain Robbie Keane converted Damien Duff&rsquo;s cutback on 33 minutes to cancel out Nicolas Anelka&rsquo;s first-leg strike from Saturday.<br /><br />Both Keane and Duff were then foiled by France keeper Hugo Lloris as the visitors went all out for that all-important second goal.<br /><br />But the French held on and eventually broke Irish hearts on 103 minutes when referee Martin Hansson failed to spot Henry&rsquo;s clear handball in controlling a long ball forward and Gallas bundled home amid furious protests.<br /><br />France will now be joined in South Africa next summer by <strong>Portugal</strong>, <strong>Greece</strong> and <strong>Slovenia</strong>, who all won their respective second-leg matches 1-0 last night to complete the European contingent of qualifiers.<br /><br />Jose Raul Meireles netted the winner as Portugal completed a 2-0 aggregate win over Bosnia Herzegovina in Zenica, while, in Donetsk, Dimitrios Salpingidis got the only goal of the tie to see Greece past Ukraine.<br /><br />Slovenia were 2-1 down to Russia from the first leg but Zlatko Dedic&rsquo;s goal gave them victory on away goals.<br /><br /><strong>Algeria</strong> also qualified with a 1-0 win over fierce rivals Egypt in the African play-off &ndash; Antar Yahia sparking mass celebrations with the only goal.