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World Cup qualifying: France net extra-time goal to progress to South Africa

France have again qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals but this time they did it the hard way. Les Bleus managed an extra-time goal at the Stade de France in Paris to win their play-off with Republic of Ireland 2-1 on aggregate.

The first leg in Dublin on Saturday went the way of the French thanks to a Nicolas Anelka goal but Ireland showed their true fighting spirit when captain Robbie Keane slotted home in the 33rd minute of the second leg to tie the overall score at 1-1.

A tireless encounter ensued with both sides playing cautiously until the end of regular time where the contest remained all tied up.

Keane made a late play for the winner with a 25-yard blast moments before the 90 minutes were up but it was to no avail.

Just prior to the first half of extra-time, Arsenal defender William Gallas netted a controversial goal that appeared to be handled in the area by his former Gunners teammate Thierry Henry before he passed it back to the centre-half who finished in the 103rd minute.

The goal made it 1-1 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate and despite Ireland's best intentions, they could not break through the French defence meaning Raymond Domenech's charges progress through to South Africa 2010.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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