David De Gea had a World Cup opener to forget when Spain faced Portugal. The 3-3 scoreline, while a masterclass in Cristiano Ronaldo’s sheer brilliance, also put a question mark over the erstwhile rock-solid shot-stopping abilities of the Manchester United keeper.
The opener arrived quite early, with a 4th minute penalty sending De Gea the wrong way. The Portuguese superstar’s second goal slipped past the hands of the 27-year-old, eerily similar to Loras Karius’ folly during the Champions League final.
Much criticism was hurled at him by the fans, but it appears that at least for the penalty, De Gea wasn’t entirely to blame.
A closer look at the events leading up to the penalty being netted shows a confident De Gea misguided by his own captain – Sergio Ramos. It appears that Ramos had an inkling as to where his Real Madrid teammate would kick the ball and indicated the same to his keeper.
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The latter acted on the advice, but it was no good, as the scoreline read 1-0 a few seconds later. This does beg the question as to what the custodian might have done had Ramos not advised him, and would it have made a difference in the outcome.
David De Gea came up to Cristiano with dominant walk to try and put him under some pressure, Cristiano then smiles at him causing De Gea to lose eye contact. Ramos tries to help De Gea by telling him in which direction Cristiano would shoot but then we all know what happened next pic.twitter.com/fL4RoKP6lF
— A | VivaPortugal (@binarybeast7) June 17, 2018
Post the full-time whistle, support was shown from various sources to the keeper, with newly-appointed manager Fernando Hierro also having his say.
“We’re not going to point the finger of blame at anyone. Of course there are moments when things don’t go as well but we know what we want, and what we are asking our players and everyone is to see us as a team,” Hierro stated.
“We don’t have any doubts about De Gea and he doesn’t have any doubts about himself either. I gave him a long embrace, we know that being a goalkeeper requires special psychology and is a difficult position to play in. He has had lots of good days. We are a family, we are a team, and we stick together.”
Spain next face Iran on Wednesday, and it seems unlikely that De Gea will heed the advice of Ramos again.