Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona and Louis XVI

Defiant French national team coach Raymond Domenech backed star Thierry Henry in the controversy surrounding Henry's handball that led to the goal that sent France to the 2010 World Cup at Ireland's expense and lashed out at critics such as former French star Eric Cantona, who described him as the worst coach since Louis XVI. "He is coach of a beach soccer team and failed to qualify his team for the World Cup," said Domenech. "He should show decency!''

"It made me furious that Thierry can be treated this way,'' Domenech told L'Express. "I did not slept for two days and I am just starting to get over it. When France were given an unjustified red card against the Serbs, Serbia did not launch a campaign to denigrate its team.''

Domenech said the French weren't cheaters. "We benefited from a referee's mistake,"he said.

Domenech backed his captain, Henry.

"Titi is one of the most talented players in the history of French soccer," he said. "We qualified for the World Cup. For months now, despite his injury, he participated in all our matches at the risk of being yelled at by his club, Barcelona. Les Bleus is his reason for living as a footballer.''

Domenech disagreed that the solution would be to replay the game.

"It would have been impossible," said Domenech. "Or it should be done after every incident that goes unpunished. Let's solve the problem of refereeing -- that is the real debate.''

As for Cantona's comments ...

"I did not know that Louis XVI had been a coach,'' Domenech said. "I put Cantona in the same batch as the others. He is coach of a beach soccer team and failed to qualify his team for the World Cup. He should show decency!''

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