Henry expects clean slate

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France striker Thierry Henry does not believe the Republic of Ireland will take to the field at the Stade de France intent on revenge.

The Irish head into the second leg of their World Cup play-off trailing 1-0 following Nicolas Anelka's away goal in Dublin on Saturday in a clash that was marked by a series of furious confrontations on the pitch. The bust-ups were sparked by Lassana Diarra's comments to Keith Andrews - which he has since denied making - suggesting the Republic's dream was at an end.

But Henry does not feel the Irish will be out for retribution and said: "As I said on English television, I do not expect anything. They are a team that will play, as they usually do, to their abilities and aggressively in the proper sense."

They may have the advantage but Henry feels the hard work is still to come for France if they are to book their place in South Africa next summer.

Even a draw at home to the Irish would now be good enough for Les Bleus to qualify but Henry insists there is absolutely no room for complacency.

He is eager to make sure the hard work his side have put in during the qualifying period - in which they have had things far from their own way - does not go to waste.

"The hardest thing will be to finish the job," the former Arsenal man said. "The plain truth is that when we get on the field it will be 0-0. We will approach this match as if it was a one-off.

"We said right away there were 90 minutes still to play. We've been fighting to qualify for the last two years. The Irish will not give up."

Indeed, the visitors will take heart from France's qualifying record, where they could only draw with Romania and left it late to beat Lithuania at home.

France will be without defender Eric Abidal because of a thigh injury, with either Julien Escude or Sebastien Squillaci in line to replace him.

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Keith Andrews
Nicolas Anelka
Premier League
Lassana Diarra
Thierry Henry

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