Goalkeeper blunders we will never forget

Shot-stoppers have always been famous for their foibles, and when things go wrong for them, the consequences are usually spectacular.

So much for the 'Jabulani Juggle'. At least Robert Green was man enough not to resort to blaming the much-maligned World Cup ball after his shocker for England against the United States. Shot-stoppers have always been famous for their foibles, and when things go wrong for them, the consequences are usually spectacular, writes Paul Radley

Andoni Zubizarreta Spain v Nigeria, France 1998 The Basque custodian spent 18 years building a reputation as one of the best in the game. It took just one moment of madness for it all to unravel. Despite standing in splendid isolation, the 36-year-old goalkeeper, playing in his fourth World Cup, palmed a cross into his own net to hasten Spain's demise against Nigeria. The defeat contributed to the European side going out at the group stage.

David Seaman England v Brazil, Japan and South Korea 2002 "One Flew over Seaman's Head" was a popular Tottenham Hotspur fanzine, penned in celebration of a long-range lob by Nayim, the former Spurs player, against their bitter rivals, in the 1995 European Cup Winners' Cup final. Unfortunately for the Arsenal goalkeeper, that ended up being merely his second most famous blunder, after he allowed Ronaldinho's speculative free-kick to float past him in a quarter-final in 2002.

Pat Bonner Rep of Ireland v Holland, USA 1994 Four years earlier, Bonner had been the hero of Ireland when he made the match-winning penalty save as Jack Charlton's side beat Romania in a second-round shoot-out. But infamy proved to be just a blunder away as he let a 30-yard powder-puff effort from Wim Jonk writhe through his grasp to grant the Dutch victory in their last 16 match in Orlando.

Nery Pumpidu Argentina v Cameroon, Italy 1990 Pumpidu was a World Cup winner in 1986 in Mexico, but then his luck ran out. Three years later he lost a finger when his wedding ring got caught in a nail protruding from the crossbar. His third World Cup started when he let a weak header from Francois Omam-Biyik go through him in the opening match in Milan. It finished a game later when he broke his leg.

Rene Higuita Colombia v Cameroon, Italy 1990 Higuita's eight goals for his country may be more than Emile Heskey has managed for England, but the eccentric keeper cost them a few, too. On one of his famous walkabouts, he coughed up possession to Roger Milla, the old man of Cameroon, who subsequently scored. Cue one of the World Cup's great celebrations.

Roberto Rojas Chile v Brazil, Italy 1990, Qualifying Most mistakes cost a goal. One by Rojas cost him his career. His was a blunder of morality, however. Along with a group of accomplices, Rojas tried to get Chile's away qualifier in Rio abandoned by pretending that he had been hit by a firework thrown by fans. An inquiry found he cut himself with a razor concealed in his glove. He was banned for life.

Peter Shilton England v Poland, West Germany 1974, Qualifying Poland's keeper, Jan Tomaszewski, had been labelled a clown on commentary by Brian Clough, the Nottingham Forest manager. Yet it was the Poles who laughed last when Jan Domarski's shot squirmed under Shilton's body, meaning England missed the party in Germany. Barbosa Brazil v Uruguay, Brazil 1950 Memories of mistakes are virtually impossible to erase. Barbosa, who was demonised in Brazil after his error handed the World Cup final of 1950 to Uruguay, paid for his until the day he died, in 2000. In 1993, the beleaguered former goalkeeper wanted to visit the national team. He was turned away, for fear he would jinx them.

@Email:pradley@thenational.ae

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