13 June 2010

London! We've Trouble in Between the Posts

"I'd rather not going to the World Cup Finals than playing with this weird ball. To all goalies, watch out! Have a head protective gear like mine. At least, you must always be in right mind (focus). Mark my word.
Shall you Green?" (hehe)

Was it the Adidas's Jabulani ball's fault? Or just a jinx to England team with such misfortunes in the World Cup? The Jabulani was after all developed at Loughborough University, United Kingdom. The ball has already received pre-tournament criticism, primarily from many goalkeepers. Brazil goalkeeper Júlio César compared it to a "supermarket" ball that favoured strikers and worked against goalkeepers. Other similar complaints came from Giampaolo Pazzini, Claudio Bravo and Iker Casillas. Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon said, "It is very sad that a competition so important as the world championship will be played with such a horrible ball." whilst Brazilian striker Luís Fabiano called the ball "supernatural", as it unpredictably changed direction when traveling through the air. Joe Hart of England said the "balls have been doing anything but staying in my gloves.". It was suggested the ball behaved "completely different" at altitude by England coach Fabio Capello. So, by his own admission of the ball, his goalie blunder was inevitably no a "surprise" to Fabio Capello as he knew what was coming as the result of playing the ball. Or playing Green in between the posts?

Last night, Robert Green apparently wrote his name into the lengthening list of blundering England goalkeepers when he let a routine shot from Clint Dempsey slip through his grasp for a United States equaliser at their opener (game) in the South Africa 2010 World Cup. Green was well positioned as he went down to stop the ball, but the Jabulani ball slipped off his gloves and rolled into the net to make it the game even at 1 all (1-1). He was visibly deflated after his horrendous mistake which silenced the thousands of England fans in the stadium & another millions around the globe.

England supporters have long become used to epic errors from their goalkeepers. From David Seaman at the 2002 World Cup and Scott Carson in a Euro 2008 qualifier to several gaffes by David "Calamity" James, England now has a reputation for producing poor goalkeepers instead of great ones as in the past. Players such as Gordon Banks, Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton would likely have dealt easily with Dempsey's low, left-footed drive in the 40th minute at Rustenburg on Saturday. 

David Seaman allowed a speculative long-range free kick from Ronaldinho to float over his head for Brazil's winning goal in a 2-1 victory at the 2002 World Cup. James let a long-range drive by Austria's Andreas Ivanschitz squirm under his body for the equaliser in a 2-2 draw in World Cup qualifying in 2004 after his team had led 2-0. James' habit of wildly racing out of his area has also previously been a common sight.Paul Robinson went to deal with a routine backpass from teammate Gary Neville in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Croatia, but the ball hit a divot to bounce over his foot and into the net. While Scott Carson should have dealt comfortably with Niko Kranjcar's shot at Wembley in another Euro 2008 qualifier. But the ball bounced past him in a 3-2 loss at home that virtually ended England's qualifying chances.

England captain Steven Gerrard was still upbeat about their chances and eventually backed up his under fire goalie.
"I think it's one of them freak things. I don't think you can criticise the goalkeeper. They've been talking about the ball. I think he'll make some important saves for us. We're all behind him," said Steven Gerrard.

 Green said the fumble wouldn't wreck his confidence.
 "Mentally we're strong enough to get over it and as a goalkeeper these things happen. You prepare yourself for not letting it affect you," he told Sky TV.

p/s : Be cool like it wasn't happened, mate. Go England go! Howay the lads! Hopefully Rooney & co. would soon be firing all cylinders. No more howlers please or ready being punished of which could cost them dear.

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