Belfast Telegraph

France to take on Republic as part of World Cup warm-up


By Damian Spellman

The Republic of Ireland will play France in an international friendly at the Stade de France on May 28.

Didier Deschamps will be using the fixture as preparation for next year's World Cup in Russia.

It will be the first time the Republic have played Les Bleus since their Euro 2016 round of 16 defeat.

It will be the 17th meeting between the sides.

The Republic have a good record in Paris with a 2-0 win in 1937, a 1-1 draw in 1973, and a 0-0 draw in 2004 but much talk ahead of the game will centre around Thierry Henry's infamous handball in 2009.

The incident caused uproar in Irish football circles and it later emerged that Fifa paid the Football Association of Ireland 5m euros to avoid a legal case over the matter.

France had won the first leg in Dublin 1-0, but in the return match Robbie Keane scored to level the tie overall.

The Republic were 16 minutes away from a penalty shootout when Henry handled in the build-up to William Gallas's extra-time goal which gave France a 2-1 aggregate win.

This friendly encounter is one of a number of games in advance of the Uefa Nations League, which kicks off in September and the draw for the tournament takes place on January 24.

Martin O'Neill's side failed to qualify for the finals in Russia, losing to Denmark in the play-offs.

Belfast Telegraph


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