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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

France break Irish hearts to seal World Cup slot

France ensured the likes of Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry will be at the World Cup in South Africa next year after winning through with a goal that has left Irish fans seething.

There was nothing wrong with the finish from William Gallas, but Thierry Henry admitted using his hand to keep the ball in play and commentators and Irish supporters are already talking of "The Hand of God II" and "The Hand of Henry" in reference to Diego Maradona in 1986.

"Yes, there is handball but I am not the referee," Henry told reporters. "I'm in the box, there are two defenders in front of me. The ball bounced off my hand, the referee did not see it and I played on."

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni called the goal a "great mistake" by Swedish referee Martin Hansson but he chose not to accuse Henry of cheating.

Afghanistan – noble cause of the 21st century?

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afghanistan.jpgDefence Secretary Des Browne said the conflict in Afghanistan was the “noble cause of the 21st century” as he paid tribute to the 100 British soldiers who died serving in the country.

He said there was not one British serviceman or woman who questioned the rightness of the military operation despite lacklustre public support at home.

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