Defiant David de Gea brushes off howler that gifted goal to Cristiano Ronaldo

Alex Broun 16/06/2018
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David de Gea was at fault over Cristiano Ronaldo's second goal

Despite a howler right up there with Lorus Karius’ best, Spain and Manchester United keeper David de Gea has brushed off his mistake in the clash with Portugal at the World Cup on Friday that gifted a second goal to Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I was late to put my knee down and the ball was screwed up,” said the 27-year-old.

“I’m calm. It’s a mistake that can happen, It was a difficult ball, I’ll keep training and try to do things right. I haven’t killed anyone.

“Football is like that, things can happen. They’re mistakes, those who put the gloves on and go out on the field know how difficult it is.”

Madrid-born De Gea then put in an advance strike against any criticism his error might bring him, while seeming to attack Spain’s own fans.

“I like that there are criticisms,” said De Gea cryptically.

“Diego Costa has also been criticised and he scored two goals.

“I would have liked that they defend me more in a difficult moment in my life, with an issue from outside the game.

“I don’t see much that they support me from Spain. My own criticism is bad enough.

“Football is like this, if you make a mistake you’re very bad, if you play well you’re very good. You have to get up.”

De Gea then vowed to keep working and be ready for Spain’s next match, now a must win fixture against Iran on Wednesday.

“I’ll keep training and doing things well,” he stated, “we have an important game against Iran and if we win it will be an important step to qualification.”

“In the end we’ve drawn, not lost, the reaction was great. There it is, it’s happened.

“I count on the support of the coach and my colleagues to continue.  The coach is with me, with all of the team,

“We had a good game, I’m happy with the team’s reaction, I think we deserved more.”

Spain’s new coach Fernando Hierro has other goal-keeping options in his squad with Napoli veteran Pepe Reina and youngster Athletic Bilbao youngster Kepa Arrizabalaga.

De Gea did have one supporter – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho who is currently in Russia as a commentator who leapt to his defence.

“It’s my boy. It hurts me to say it, but he knows. He knows it’s a bad mistake,” said the former Chelsea boss.

“It’s a mistake that he doesn’t make with us, with United. He was our Player of the Season, fantastic performances. But that happens to the best.

“The good thing with the best is that in the next match he’ll be there, not afraid. Confident to go and ready to help the team. It is a goal with David’s face.”

De Gea will be out to prove Mourinho’s words accurate against Iran on Wednesday in Spain’s next outing.

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Argentina player ratings v Iceland as Lionel Messi struggles to a 6, but Sergio Aguero soars to an 8

Matt Jones 16/06/2018
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Lionel Messi missed a golden opportunity to win the game for Argentina.

Argentina struggled to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup opener with Iceland, Lionel Messi missing a second-half penalty that proved pivotal to the outcome.

The South American supremos were ahead early on when Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero swiveled and rifled a rocket into the top corner, but the lead didn’t last long as Iceland’s Alfred Finnbogason achieved iconic status as the scorer of their maiden World Cup goal.

The mercurial Messi had the chance to give his side a 2-1 advantage but tamely struck a 64th minute penalty which goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson palmed away. And the tiny island nation held on to a massive result.

Here we rate the Argentina players:

ARGENTINA (4-2-3-1)

Willy Caballero – 5:

Had a shaky afternoon, including palming Hordur Magnusson’s shot into the path of Finnbogason for Iceland’s equaliser.

Eduardo Salvio – 7:

Inexperienced at international level but was a constant source of creation down Argentina’s right, always an option for the midfield.

Nicolas Otamendi – 7:

Has improved greatly under Pep Guardiola at club level and that is reflected for his country too. Solid, committed and clever in possession.

Marcos Rojo – 5:

Cross/shot led to Aguero’s stunning opener but otherwise looked vulnerable and was culpable for Iceland’s leveller.

Nicolas Tagliafico – 6:

The Ajax man was winning his just his fifth cap, but appears comfortable at the elite level.

Javier Mascherano – 5:

A player whose hallmark has been his bite and tenacity, but time is catching up with the 34-year-old who was overrun in midfield.

Lucas Biglia – 5:

A severe back injury had threatened his World Cup preparations. Therefore it was a surprise to see him start, especially when taken off just after half-time.

Maximiliano Meza – 7:

The ingenuity of the Independiente midfielder was preferred to Juventus pivot Paulo Dybala and he flourished as Di Maria on the opposite flank floundered.

Lionel Messi – 6:

Missed penalty was remarkably the 24th of his career. A blight on an otherwise bright performance – but too often had to drop deep to spark attacks.

Angel Di Maria – 4:

Was expected to have his way with an inferior Iceland defence. Had no impact on the game whatsoever.

Sergio Aguero – 8:

Preferred to Gonzalo Higuain as Argentina’s spearhead and pierced through their icy resolve with his first World Cup goal.

 

SUBS:

Ever Banega – 7:

Instantly added fizz to a side that had been frustrated going forward in the first half.

Cristian Pavon – 7:

Replaced the ineffective Di Maria. Should have won Argentina a second penalty; had a fine shot pushed away by Halldorsson.

Gonzalo Higuain N/A:

Got a cameo after his starting place had been bequeathed to Aguero.

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Barcelona's Gerard Pique brands Cristiano Ronaldo a diver in bitter outburst after 3-3 World Cup draw

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Gerard Pique was far from pleased after Cristiano Ronaldo's late winner

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has branded Cristiano Ronaldo a diver after Spain’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal in their opening Group B World Cup clash.

The 31-year-old was clearly unhappy after the match feeling Spain were the better team and only failed to win due to Ronaldo’s theatrics.

“We had more chances, they had three shots and scored three goals,” he said. “Games go one way and you have to face it.

“Finding yourself in the opening game of the World Cup with a penalty against you and a goal down after two minutes, you have to leave with a good feeling about how the game went.

“Cristiano has a habit to dive.”

Pique would not hear criticism of David de Gea despite the Manchester United keeper’s howler in gifting Ronaldo a goal on the stroke of half-time.

“[De Gea has] been doing this for many years and we all face it, I’m sure that in important moments he will be how he has always been,” said Pique.

“A lack of confidence? Not at all, it’s what you want to suggest, in the dressing room it’s clear that David is our goalkeeper, he’s shown it for years.”

Pique would not however be drawn on the shock departure of former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, after being announced as Real Madrid’s replacement for Zinedine Zidane.

“We are hurt as little as possible, we’re all in it together in the World Cup,” he stated. “It’s not a good experience for anyone.

“We hope to reach the final and win it, in the end we’ll see. The World Cup has started, you have to turn the page, the time to reflect will come but for now in the competition you have to focus on the football.

“There were meetings with many people and from there the president decides, you’ve seen that. From that everything stays with us.

“The fact he negotiated with Madrid doesn’t annoy me, at all, the background is clear, it’s a huge club and the club of his life.

“The argument is about the manner [in which he negotiated] and the president didn’t like it. The players are here to play, the less we talk the better.”

This is set to be Pique’s last World Cup with the defender already announcing plans to retire from international football.

Gerard Pique and Cristiano Ronaldo clash during the match

Gerard Pique and Cristiano Ronaldo clash during the match

“I’ve already said it and the decision is quite certain, you never know 100 percent what will happen but when I say something I usually follow through with it,” said Pique.

“I think the time has come, we hope to win and go out with a bang.”

Pique, who is a crucial member of Spain’s back four, is set to make his next appearance against surprise Group B leaders Iran on Wednesday night in Kazan.

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