FC Barcelona’s Thierry Henry became the first French football player to have qualified to four consecutive World Cups after France achieved the ticket to South Africa next year in the playoffs against Ireland (1-1, aggregate 2-1), according to Madrid based paper Marca.
The player, 32, was in the finals in Germany in 2006, Japan and South Korea in 2002 and France in 1998.
Midfielder Patrick Vieira has also played in the three World Cups, but could not secure his place with the current France squad.
Captain of the current ‘les Bleus’ squad, Henry is the all-time top scorer in the French team with 51 goals from 117 matches.
That achievement was however marred by the way France got their extra-time winner when Henry was adjudged to have ‘hand-balled’ the ball right before Gallas struck from close range.
Always an honest player, Henry admitted to the hand-ball after the match but insist it was for the referee to decide, not him: “I will not lie: it’s a hand. The ball hit my hand and I continued playing. The referee did not whistle and it was a goal,” the France captain told reporters, adding, “Obviously, I would have preferred a different outcome but I am not the referee … I do not think we ‘stole’ our qualification”.