None of us at Worldreferee saw the match... well in fact our reporter Padre did but came in too late to claim this report. You can read his report below. The rest of us here just saw the replays of the Henry hands ball. We received a couple of hundred e-mails from angry Irishmen (and perhaps women). Some more sad than angry, some very rude, others filled with conspiracy theories.
The much we like conspiracy theories, we don't really believe in most of them. Sure, FIFA probably rather has France competing than Ireland in the World Cup, but how do you organize a goal like this?
Henry touched tha ball twice with his hands, clear for all to see and Gallas kicked it in. Clear for all but Hansson, who couldn't see it from where he stood and his assistant, who should have seen it. From what we hear from people who were in the stadium, the hands ball wasn't replayed on the screen. So the assistant couldn't sneak a look at it. That may have been a deliberate move by the French. But I don't believe Hansson deliberately ignored it.
But what about the 4th official? Why not listen to the very loud protests? If players like the Irish react like this maybe the referee should consult his 4th man, should ask his assistant again what happened, and even ask Henry. Henry later said that he told Hansson it was ahands ball, but that was after the match.
So imagine Martin Hansson now. He will get a lot of hate mail (no we don't disclose his address) he will probably not go to South Africa and a whole nation hates him (actualy we did get some mail from Ireland showing mercy).
don't forget to read padre's report below
will they ever learn?
(this is PADRE's report)
lost the plot
Whoever appointed Martin Hansson to this match must have surely lost the plot. They must have forgotten just what a big match this was, and the significance of the result. Why else would they let such a distinctly average official with little experience of top games control this game? Yes, the current crop do not match up to their colleagues of 4 years ago (Collina, Poll, Merk, Fandel, Frojdfeldt, Frisk, Medina Cantalejo), but men like Frank de Bleeckere and Manuel Mejuto were available, and both would have been much better choices.
Of course Henry has not covered himself in glory, and you can blame him for cheating if you want. However, the purpose of the referee is to detect infringements of the laws and to punish offences appropriately, and so Martin Hansson must accept full responsibility for this disgracefully unfair goal. He was in a very poor position for the whole incident, and it is hardly surprising that he did not see it. A referee at this level should be able to read the game well enough to get to a position from where he can see any key incidents, and in this regard abysmal would be a generous description of Hansson's performance.
If Hansson's view was blocked, the assistant referee's surely was not. Why did he not see the handball, and if he did why was the goal still allowed?
Good performance until then
I was quite surprised by how well Hansson performed for most of the match, in particular not being fooled by Anelka's dive in an attempt to win a penalty. I was almost willing to accept I was wrong, and that actually he did merit this appointment. But then, true to form, he made a serious mistake.
It is interesting to compare Martin Hansson and Claus Bo Larsen. While UEFA often entrust Larsen with high profile matches between big clubs, the biggest game they have given Hansson in 8 years on the list is a UEFA cup 1/4 final. Larsen rarely makes a mistake, is consistent, calm and assured. Hansson seems to make dodgy decisions with alarming frequency, look back at the previous match reports to see. And yet which of the two is on the list for the World Cup, and which took charge of the Confederations Cup final this year? FIFA must have seen something in Hansson that neither I, nor UEFA apparently, have.