Ball not to blame for goalkeeping howlers

June 15, 2010

The standard of goalkeeping in the early stages of this World Cup has not been the best but blame cannot lie with the controversial Jabulani ball.

Keepers and even strikers have criticised the adidas ball for being too light but the makers have said it is the roundest and truest ball ever created.

If we look at the three major keeping howlers so far in South Africa, I don’t think any of them are down to the ball.

England’s Robert Green let Clint Dempsey’s shot through his fingers in a 1-1 draw with the United States simply through a lack of technique and maybe nerves. The ball was bouncing along the ground so swerve was not an issue.

Algeria’s Faouzi Chaouchi made a bizarre attempt to save Robert Koren’s goal in Slovenia’s 1-0 win, trying to shovel the ball wide but making a horrible hash. Again, the ball did not swerve and was bouncing, it was simply poor technique and maybe the roar of the vuvuzelas affecting concentration.

Paraguay keeper Justo Villar gifted holders Italy a 1-1 draw in their opener when he flapped at a corner allowing Daniele De Rossi to prod home. I didn’t see any deviation in the ball and De Rossi read the flight right even if the keeper did not.

The pressure of a World Cup is unimaginable especially for goalkeepers like these three who are not household names around the globe.

A keeper’s mistake also often leads to a goal while a forward can miss an open net and soon everyone forgets.

There have been some other errors by keepers and after a long, hard season maybe they should be expected.

At least the bloopers have caused more goals in a World Cup sadly lacking great excitement otherwise.

PHOTO: Italy’s Daniele De Rossi (R) scores against Paraguay during a 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 14, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov

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