Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Given rages after France pairing

Shay Given has once again condemned FIFA's decision to seed the World Cup play-offs after the Republic of Ireland were handed a daunting clash with 1998 winners France.

The Republic will play Raymond Domenech's side at Croke Park on Saturday, November 14 with the return leg in Paris the following Wednesday.

That is just the kind of scenario the Republic feared when it emerged a week before their ultimately decisive Group Eight showdown with Italy the draw would be seeded after all.

Now the Manchester City keeper and his team-mates must get past Thierry Henry, Franck Ribery and company if they are to reach next summer's finals in South Africa.

The 33-year-old launched a bitter attack on the governing body a fortnight ago, and remains angry at the decision.

He said: “The seeding thing is totally unfair. As one of the smaller countries, it is hard enough to qualify at the best of times.

“To change the rules a couple of weeks before the end of the campaign is ridiculous. But that is what they have done. It is very unfair.”

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