4 Notorious Handballs

Last week as the worst crisis in FIFA's history continued to unfold, one of the stories that came out was that the beleaguered organization had paid the Football Association of Ireland a reported €5 million to drop their threats of legal action after France's Thierry Henry denied them a place at the 2010 World Cup with a blatant handball.

The notorious incident in Paris is just one of several examples of when players influenced a key moment with their hands.

1978 World Cup Qualifying - Wales vs Scotland

With Scotland needing a win over Wales to qualify for the World Cup in Argentina they met Wales in October of 1977 at Anfield, as the Welsh FA had deemed that none of their own grounds were suitable for the fixture. It turned out to be a massive mistake as the Scots snapped up most of the match tickets and turned what was supposed to be a home match into very much an away fixture. Wales managed to hang on against a good Scottish side though until eleven minutes from time when Scotland forward Joe Jordan jumped for a ball in their box and clearly handled. The referee inexplicably called a penalty for Scotland and after Don Masson converted, with Kenny Daglish adding a late second, Wales were left with a 2-0 defeat and their World Cup qualification hopes extinguished.

1986 World Cup Quarter-Final - England vs Argentina

The granddaddy of controversial handballs and one of the most infamous moments in World Cup history occurred in Mexico during the Quarter-Final between rivals England and Argentina. With the match finely balanced, Argentina's Diego Maradona pounced on a poorly played back pass, leaped in front of England keeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball over him. The inexperienced referee gave the goal and England eventually crashed to a 2-1 defeat. Maradona later cheekily dubbed the incident "The Hand of God".

2010 World Cup Qualifying - Ireland vs France

After losing the first leg of their World Cup Qualifying Playoff 1-0 at home, few gave Ireland much chance of turning things around in Paris and qualifying for the finals in South Africa. However at the Stade de France a goal by Robbie Keane put the Irish ahead on the night and level on aggregate. In extra-time though France's Thierry Henry deliberately controlled the ball with his hand before centring for William Gallas' decisive finish. An enraged Ireland protested to no avail and France were off to the World Cup.

2010 World Cup Quarter-Final - Ghana vs Uruguay

At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Ghana came agonizingly close to becoming the first ever African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals until the cruel hand of fate blocked their path. An engrossing match between themselves and Uruguay was knotted at 1-1 in the last minute of extra time when Dominic Adiyiah headed what looked to be a winner towards the South Americans goal only for Luis Suarez to desperately bat it away with both hands. Suarez was sent off for this piece of blatant cheating and then cemented his reputation as a weasel for the ages when he jumped around in celebration in the tunnel when Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty. Ghana would then go on to lose in a penalty shootout.


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