FIFA Denies Ireland's Plea to Expand World Cup to 33 Teams

Ireland is officially done.

A last-second plea to join the 2010 World Cup field in South Africa as an unprecedented 33rd team has been denied by FIFA, according to the news agency Agence France-Presse.

Yet it's not like the Football Association of Ireland doesn't have a genuine beef.

The Irish were eliminated from World Cup contention when France's Thierry Henry orchestrated a decisive goal by using his hand to control a ball near the Irish goal. The referree inexplicably missed the obvious infraction and allowed France to advance.

All that hasn't mattered a whole lot to FIFA.

"We have to be clear that Ireland will not be invited to play at the 2010
World Cup," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told AFP. "There was a request made by the Irish FA when we met them in Zurich a few
days ago. They asked the question but the FIFA president was very clear in saying it
was impossible because if we did so then way not Costa Rica and others? We told them that because they were making a special request that we would
bring it to the attention of the FIFA executive committee members and it is what
we will do tomorrow.

Despite saying the request would go the committee on Wednesday, Valcke said he wanted to be very clear:
"...it is impossible. There is no hope at all that there will be more than 32 teams
at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa," he added.

Ireland had initially asked to replay its controversial game with France but that request was denied as well. A video of the handball:


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