/ Soccer

Despite Euro qualification, Given is still not over pain of Paris

Updated: Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 16:58 | Comments

Shay Given after the Republic of Ireland's exit at the hands of Thierry Henry
Shay Given after the Republic of Ireland's exit at the hands of Thierry Henry

Shay Given has admitted he will probably never get over the pain of missing out on a place at the 2010 World Cup, even after the successful Euro 2012 qualification campaign.

Thierry Henry's blatant handball in an infamous World Cup qualification play-off in Paris cost the Republic of Ireland a place at the 2010 World Cup.

Given was in goal when the striker used his hand to tee William Gallas up for the crucial goal.

He said: "I won't have got over what happened in Paris another 20 years. That was a huge disappointment and when we missed out on the World Cup a lot of people might have felt sorry for themselves."

Ireland’s successful Euro 2012 qualification campaign has proved that Ireland are a force to be reckoned with, even if progression from a group that contains Italy and holders Spain will not be easy.

Given added: "But we showed in that campaign we are a good team. And thankfully we had the belief to reach another major championships.

Ireland are hoping to do more than just participate in Poland/Ukraine, though challenge could not be much tougher with current World and European champions Spain, Italy and Croatia drawn alongside Ireland in Group C.

"But we are not happy with that. We want to give a good account of ourselves. The draw couldn't have been much tougher; Spain, Croatia and Italy. But we are looking forward. The whole country has been given a boost by us qualifying."

And, as Given concedes, Ireland's status as underdogs suits them.

“We have always responded against the bigger nations in the past," he said.

"This same group has been together for three or four years now and the bigger teams won't want to play against us because they know how hard we are to play against."

Given was speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, where he was promoting his sell-out Fashion Kicks event at Lancashire CCC on 1 May.

Boy band Westlife will perform at the event, with Hart, Vincent Kompany, Darren Bent and Adam Johnson present to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Support.

"We get the players involved in a fashion show and I am taking them from different clubs this year to widen the appeal," said Given.

"It is a bit of fun and hopefully we can raise some money."

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