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Can Facebook group change World Cup game result?

The World Cup elimination game between France and Ireland was decided by a piece of blatant cheating. A Facebook group, more than 250,000 strong, wants it replayed.

You know this is serious because they've already talked about it on SportsCenter.

Wednesday saw one of the most painful pieces of cheating that soccer has enjoyed since, oh, since pretty much any other World Cup qualifying game.

However, this occurred in the dying minutes, featured one of the most famous players in the world (yes, he's been on the front of an EA FIFA game box), affected the result of the game, and was so crudely obvious that the world has decided to fight back by socially networking.

In case you were only recently released after being abducted by recalcitrant performance artists, France was playing Ireland for the privilege of going to the World Cup finals in South Africa. Ireland was winning.

Thierry Henry, contemplating moral philosophy, when he played for London's Arsenal. Cc BobbyMond/Flickr

A ball was hopefully pumped into the Irish penalty area. The French captain, Thierry Henry, reached out his left hand to control the ball, enjoyed the feeling so much he actually handled it twice, then crossed the ball for an embarrassed teammate, Willam Gallas, to score and eliminate the plucky Irish. (It is compulsory to use the term "plucky" when referring to the Irish soccer team.)

Henry, perhaps sensing his precious image evaporating, admitted Friday that the game should be replayed.

Even though the sport's governing body, FIFA, has declared no replay will happen, it now has to deal with perhaps the fastest-growing Facebook group on earth.

Petition to have IRELAND VS FRANCE REPLAYED!!!!! already has secured more than 250,000 members since its inception, as well as an increasing amount of media coverage.

What is clear from the group is that people from all over the world are incensed that FIFA has haughtily dismissed the power of the people, the socially networking people. The group has organized a protest in Dublin, 2 p.m. local time Saturday.

If I were one of the fine-dining, bouncy-bellied officials at FIFA, I would pay a little more attention to this Facebook group. The last time someone so blatantly ignored the will of the socially-networking people--who, in the Facebook group's case, include many from France itself--it was a lady who guffawed: "Let them eat cake."

Yes, she was Queen of France and it did not end well for her. I feel sure Marie Antoinette would have wished for a little replay in her own life. And I feel equally sure that, were she alive today, she would be joining the Facebook group "Petition to have IRELAND VS FRANCE REPLAYED!!!!!" in demanding a rerun of this most important game.