Irish eager for ‘revenge’ against France

No sooner had Robbie Brady dramatically headed Ireland into the last 16 on Wednesday to set up a knockout tie against hosts France, Irish players and fans started talking about ‘revenge’.

The revenge they have in mind harks back to a 2009 play-off for a place at the 2010 World Cup, when France’s Thierry Henry used his hand to set up the winning extra-time goal for William Gallas.

Only four players who played in Paris that day are still in Martin O’Neill’s squad – Robbie Keane, John O’Shea, Glenn Whelan and keeper Shay Given – but that doesn’t mean the present squad won’t be eager to pay France back for the heartache of six years ago when the two sides meet on Sunday.

Jeff Hendrick, one of Ireland’s stand out players at the tournament so far, revealed that although they won’t obsess about 2009, it will still be in the back of their minds.

"That goal did hurt the whole nation at the time but hopefully we can now get a result against France and get one back on them.

"I remember the game but it’s in the past, it’s a different group of players – it won’t be stuck in our head. I suppose we would have been delighted if we had scored a goal like that!"

Wes Hoolahan, who set up Brady’s late winner against Italy, said that Ireland would try and forget about the goal.

"There is history there against France. Thierry hand-balling for the goal, but we’ll probably forget about that," he said. "It’s important we go into Sunday’s game confident. We have nobody to fear."