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'The dressing room was silent' | Patrice Evra on infamous Henry handball

Former Manchester United and France left-back Patrice Evra recalls the infamous night when France...

'The dressing room was silent'...

'The dressing room was silent' | Patrice Evra on infamous Henry handball

Former Manchester United and France left-back Patrice Evra recalls the infamous night when France qualified for the 2010 World Cup against Ireland.

Evra, 40, spoke to OTB Sports about the release of his autobiography, "I Love This Game," and gave a detailed recollection of the night Thierry Henry dashed Ireland's World Cup hopes.

Nicolas Anelka gave France the advantage by scoring in the first leg in Dublin. In the return fixture, captain Robbie Keane capitalised on a great first-half performance.

"I remember that game so well because what a game it was.

"We won the first game in Ireland, but I don't think we played the second leg in France because the Ireland fans were just so amazing," Evra chuckled.

"We had a really bad first half, and we were losing 1-0. You guys battered us. I remember being in the dressing room and saying we are not going to the World Cup because these guys are destroying us.

In extra-time, Thierry Henry handled the ball as he set up William Gallas to send France to South Africa.

"I was behind (the play). I think I wasn't too far away.

"Our reaction on the pitch was that we didn't see it. To be honest with you, I didn't know. I found out later when I saw the replay and the handball, but during the game, I didn't know it was a handball.

"When we saw the replay in the dressing room, it was silence. There wasn't laughing or anything like that.

"It was so weird because when you had the feeling like you just didn't qualify for the world cup because we were like 'what's going on?'

"That room was like silence. There wasn't any celebration. You would like to win in a better way."

18 November 2009; A videograb of the handball by France's Thierry Henry which directly led to France's equalising goal. FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying Play-off 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v France, Stade de France, Saint Denis, Paris. Picture credit: RTE

The Frenchman jumped to the aid of his fellow teammate Thierry Henry, claiming the abuse he received was unjust.

"The incident wasn't nice for us. It wasn't nice for the Irish people, but especially for Theirry Henry.

"I was really upset with the way the French people destroyed Thierry because some people were like he should go and say he did the handball.

"I'm not sure an Irish player, if he did the handball, would say alright, I did it because the people in his country would destroy him.

"I don't like these people coming out and saying, 'oh well, if it were me, I would've done this,' but it wasn't you. I wouldn't say what I would do because it didn't happen to me."

The former Juventus defender recalls his encounter with Manchester United teammate John O'Shea following that controversial international break.

"When I went back to Manchester, John O'Shea was still upset. We didn't really talk about it. He was just joking, saying we were lucky."

Evra was quick to mention the admiration he has for the Ireland team and the country.

"I feel like whenever we play Ireland, even in the Euros, it is such a magnificent game.

"For the Irish people, I have so much respect for them. I even went to the Riverdance in Dublin, and I am always learning about your culture. It's so beautiful."

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France V Ireland I Love This Game John O'Shea Manchester United Patrice Evra Thierry Henry